Deceuninck CEO states women's cycling is a factor in Alpecin-Fenix switch: 'We discussed that at Quick-Step, but Patrick is Patrick'

The Belgian company leaves Quick-Step at the end of 2021, after three seasons with the team

Patrick Lefevere Deceuninck CEO Alpecin-Fenix
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Deceuninck's CEO has explained why it will make the switch from sponsoring Quick-Step to Alpecin-Fenix at the beginning of 2022, with Patrick Lefevere's reluctance to start a women's team a large factor.

Quick-Step's general manager has already claimed that he doesn't have a problem with Deceuninck joining the ProTeam for four years from next season, also suggesting that the company didn't want to commit to the team's five-year project.

However, Deceuninck CEO Francis Van Eeckhout has shared his side of the story, stating that a number of factors are involved in switching teams. One of those reasons involves Alpecin-Fenix commitment to women's cycling, with the team forming professional women's road team Plantur-Pura in 2020. 

Van Eeckhout told Het Nieuwsblad: "It is a combination of factors. We are charmed by the plan of the Roodhooft brothers. And as a modern company we want to participate in women's cycling. 

“Women's cycling is increasing in importance and we cannot ignore that. We discussed that, but Patrick is Patrick."

Alongside sponsoring both the men's and women's teams, Deceuninck will also partner Alpecin-Fenix in their cyclocross, mountainbike and gravel disciplines. This is an incentive for the Belgian company, who will now get year-round exposure with riders such as Mathieu van der Poel competing in cyclocross races. 

In fact, it seems the Dutchman has played an important role in Deceuninck's switch from Quick-Step to Alpecin-Fenix, citing his reach across three major markets for the windows and doors company another factor in its decision. 

Van Eeckhout said: "He is popular in the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Three important countries for us. Not many riders have that combination. I got to know him as a modest, sober young man.

"Cycling is not a world sport, but it does ensure that you can support a rider for twelve months. Now we are left hungry from September to February. While it is important that the name of the company also changes during that period, it is imprinted in people's heads. Cyclocross can take care of that."

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.