Deceuninck - Quick-Step boss has admitted he was wrong to make the insensitive domestic violence comments in light of Sam Bennett's return to Bora-Hansgrohe.
"For me [Bennett is] the epitome of mental weakness," Lefevere had written in his weekly Het Nieuwsblad column. "Leaving Bora-Hansgrohe and telling everyone that he was bullied there and thus almost depressed and bankrupt, but fourteen months later he simply returns. It's the same as women returning home after domestic violence."
In his subsequent column one week later, after many in the cycling world criticised his remarks, Lefevere has admitted he shouldn't have said what he did.
"I am not too big to admit that I was wrong in my statements about Sam Bennett," Lefevere said.
"My opinion of him remains unchanged, but what I wrote about partner violence in the context of his return to Bora was not appropriate.
"Mea culpa. In the whole discussion around Bennett, I choose my words more carefully from now on and prefer to keep quiet about it."
Lefevere also confirmed that Bennett will not race for Deceuninck - Quick-Step again as the Irishman needs an operation on his knee followed by three to four months of rehba.
"A recent scan showed that he needs an operation on his knee, with a rehabilitation of three to four months. So he will not race for our team anymore," the Belgian boss explained.
“I am very excited about returning to Bora–Hansgrohe. I had six incredible years with this team and I really feel like I grew up as a pro rider during this period. It was a really difficult decision to leave, but I decided I needed to continue my professional and personal development in a new environment," Bennett said upon the announcement earlier in the week of his return to Bora-Hansgrohe.
"While some may have questioned my decision at the time, I believe it is the right move for me to return to Bora-Hansgrohe. I have enjoyed two great years at Deceuninck - Quick-Step, my boyhood dream team, and have continued my development both on and off the bike whilst making lifelong friendships. However, I feel ready to go back home to be the team leader that I want to be, and know Bora-Hansgrohe also wants me to be.”
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