Patrick Lefevere has said that he hasn't missed Twitter "for a moment" as he gave an interview warning that his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team is ready for "war" in the upcoming classics season.
Earlier this year he said sometimes it would be better for him and everyone if he just "shut up", but quotes are often mistranslated by the non-Flemish speaking press and public, arguing that his comments are sometimes taken out of context and blown out of proportion.
In an interview with Het Nieuwsblad, Lefevere said: "I’m not going to do that anymore. Twitter, Facebook: I’ve stopped. I am only on Instagram, with 55,000 followers. But I haven’t missed Twitter for a moment.
"I won’t let losers with zero followers get to me. I’m not going to put any more energy into it, but whoever wants to can continue to hate me.”
Asked about the threat posed by Jumbo-Visma in the upcoming classics campaign, which starts with Opening Weekend in a fortnight, he said he was "without fear".
The Dutch team have strengthened their squad for the cobbled races over the winter, with Tiesj Benoot, Christophe Laporte and Tosh van der Sande joining. They will be added to the threat posed by Wout van Aert, who is potentially the outstanding favourite for multiple one-day races this spring.
Van Aert cut short his cyclocross season to focus on the road this year, and will be further aided by the returning Mike Teunissen, who missed all the spring classics in 2021.
“I am certainly not afraid of Jumbo-Visma," Lefevere argued. "I am Patrick without fear. We are ‘The Wolfpack,’ the rest should be afraid of us. And if they are not afraid, then maybe we will get support to control the course. And it is no longer up to us alone to break open the game.”
The Quick-Step boss was asked about Van Aert, who finished sixth at the Tour of Flanders last year. The Belgian champion might be the favourite, but has found himself out-thought at long one-day races like the World Championships and Paris-Roubaix.
“Yes, and on paper he is the fastest, so that is an advantage for Jumbo-Visma," Lefevere told Het Nieuwsbald. "Van Aert should not necessarily attack, he can send teammates forward. But will he be able to endure that in the Tour of Flanders? I ask the question, I don’t know the answer."
Quick-Step won Flanders and the E3 Saxo Bank Classic through Kasper Asgreen in 2021, and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad through Davide Ballerini. However, they face stiff competition from the likes of Jumbo-Visma, Alpecin-Fenix and Trek-Segafredo, and possibly even Ineos Grenadiers through Tom Pidcock.
“When I hear the competition, we shouldn’t even start anymore,” Lefevere said.
“But the race has yet to be run. We have seen the training values of Kasper Asgreen, he has become even stronger. He looks like an iron, but ask Mathieu van der Poel if he can sprint. In addition, we have Ballerini, Sénéchal, Stybar and Lampaert who are driving well. You can go to war with that.”
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