'I'm not a welfare centre': Patrick Lefevere criticised for comments on a future Deceuninck - Quick-Step women's team

The outspoken Deceuninck - Quick-Step boss is at it again

Patrick Lefevere
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Patrick Lefevere is in hot water once again after saying he's "not a welfare centre" when asked about a possible Deceuninck - Quick-Step women's team in the future.

Lefevere was asked about his thoughts on forming the team on the HLN Sportscast with Stijn Vlaeminck and former rider for Lefevere, Tom Boonen.

The Deceuninck - Quick-Step boss said: "With all due respect, but I'm not the OCMW either, hey." 

The OCMW is the Belgian public centre for social welfare in all 581 municipalities with every citizen given the right to claim social help and integration.

"When do I start a women's team?" continued Lefevere. "When there are enough good riders in Belgium.

"It doesn't necessarily have to be a typical Belgian team, but unfortunately I don't see them. Jolien D'Hoore is retiring, as is Anna van der Breggen (both SD Worx). Only Annemiek van Vleuten is still racing, but she is with Movistar. 

"I like the Danish Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope). I think she's funny and she's good too."

Lefevere pointed out that when he followed Elisa Longo-Borghini's (Trek-Segafredo) win at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda he said that there wasn't a Belgian in the top 40 riders. 

The highest placed and only Belgian was Julie van de Velde (Jumbo-Visma) who finished 53rd, second last after almost all of the peloton failed to finish the race.

However, these opinions have brought reaction from the cycling world.

One fan said in a reply to La Flamme Rouge's tweet highlighting Lefevere's comments: "I wouldn't want Lefevere anywhere near a women's team. The way he treats the male riders is bad enough. I wouldn't want to see what kind of latent misogyny he'd spew out if needed to regularly interact and comment on a women's team."

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Another shared their opinion on the story: "My interpretation is that he considers women's bike racing a kind of charity case, but a few people are saying 'read it all' as if the comment means something else in context."

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Commentator and journalist, José Been added: "Such a lovely man. He is right there just aren’t enough Belgian riders of pro level but it's the tone that makes the music."

Before later adding: "The growth/development of women's cycling is basically charity. Should we force someone who doesn't care?"

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Rumours have been circulating that UAE Team Emirates are forming a women's team, a point another page made: "Team UAE look like they will have a women's team before Quickstep ever do. UAE! How much of a dinosaur are you when they beat you to the gender equality punch."

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Journalist Myles Warwood posted a picture of the junior women's time trial podium at the World Championships: "Instead of giving column inches to some old knobber whose views on women’s cycling are so far outdated it’s untrue, why not focus on the good?

"The WorldTour has produced some of the best racing this year and its development is huge, amazing things are happening and it’s getting stronger and stronger."

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Journalist Robyn Davidson tweeted her annoyance surrounding Lefevere's opinions on the women's side of the sport: "I’m sick of it. I’m beyond sick of it. This kind of lame attitude keeps repeating itself in my sport and NOTHING will happen. lol."

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.