News: Quickstep Boss Happy and proud of this team

Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s CEO Patrick Lefevere looks back on the Wolfpack’s season, the main achievements and the challenges they faced.

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News: Quickstep Boss Happy and proud of this team

Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s CEO Patrick Lefevere looks back on the Wolfpack’s season, the main achievements and the challenges they faced. “Happy and proud of this team after a complicated year”

Getty Images/Luc Claessen

“We had a very good start to the year” writes Patrick: “Sam and Dries won in Australia, Shane became New Zealand National Champion, Remco took his first GC victory in San Juan and continued in the same vein after returning to Europe, in Volta ao Algarve. We were, as always, a big player on the Opening Weekend, but then the lockdown came and we faced a very tough situation, made even more complicated by the fact we were in uncharted territory. It was like someone had come and knocked everything we had built in the winter and all our expectations with a hammer, we didn’t know how long it would take: would it be three, four, six months until racing would resume?

It was hard for the riders, many of them couldn’t train outside and had to stay in the house, but we took care of them, we helped them navigate those challenging months, and they came back even stronger than when the season was halted, just look at the results we got in those first weeks.

Unfortunately, in those first weeks of the “new season”, we had a lot of bad luck: Fabio, Yves, Mattia and Remco were all involved in crashes and ruled out, Zdenek had to leave the Tour de France team before the race had even started, so we had to adapt to all this and I think we can be proud of the spirit shown by everybody in the team, although it wasn’t easy at all, that you can be sure of. Those crashes made a big difference and I believe that without them we could have achieved even more.

Photo  ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images

But I will be honest, considering everything that happened, we had a great season. Our Tour de France was amazing: Julian got a stage win and enjoyed another stint in yellow, while Sam brought us a green jersey we were dreaming of since many years ago. He had a so and so start to the race, but the team believed in him and he got more and more confidence, and in the final week he was unbreakable – by a margin the strongest sprinter in the race. Just look at his victory in Paris, that was the icing on the cake, and he got such a beautiful reward: to stand there on the podium alone, in the middle of the Champs-Élysées – that was a career-defining moment!

Another memorable highlight of the season was Julian’s World Champion title. He rode there with the national team, but at the end of the day he is our rider and we helped him develop during all these years since turning pro and he ultimately achieved his big dream and took the rainbow jersey. Everybody knew he would attack, they knew when he would do it, but he still flew away from them on the last climb in Imola. The gap was hovering around 7-10 seconds for several kilometers, the group behind was chasing hard, but Julian stayed clear and got his prize. Seeing him so emotional was very touching, not just for me, but I’m sure also for cycling fans everywhere, because these raw emotions make the sport more beautiful and human.

Photo  ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images

João’s incredible ride at the Giro d’Italia was another heart-warming moment, for a number of reasons. We were supposed to go there with Fabio for the sprints and Remco for the GC, but the crashes forced us to change our plans and expectations, but even in these circumstances, the team rode amazingly. They gave everything, I can still see those moments when in a group of twenty we had four or five guys, and showed what the Wolfpack spirit is about. Of course, having João for so many days in the overall lead was incredible. A World Tour and Grand Tour debutant, he impressed on countless occasions, fought admirably and showed a dazzling consistency, finishing every single stage in the top 30. I am proud and happy not only of the way they all rode, but also because we showed again that everyone has their chance as part of the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team, and when they get it, they receive a big and unwavering support from their teammates and staff.

Photo  ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images

So, at the end of the day, 39 victories – 40 with the one in Imola – Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, three days in yellow, the green jersey, 15 days in the maglia rosa, Brabantse Pijl, Brugge-De Panne, several national titles and the rainbow jersey – I think it was a very good season, one during which we displayed our mentality and DNA, remaining at the top of the game and concluding the year again as the most successful team. Hopefully, next season things will be much smoother and we’ll have an even better campaign.”

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