Quick-Step Floors team boss Patrick Lefevere has been managing teams for around 20 years, but rates 2018 as his “best spring ever” and that “it is not possible to be better than this” with wins in the Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The Belgian manager saw Luxemburger Bob Jungels escape solo to victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, capping off a successful spring campaign after further wins in the likes of Dwars door Vlaanderen and La Flèche Wallonne
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“This is my best spring ever,” Lefevere told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. “And it was with a very young team.”
“Especially the way we raced this year and the way my riders fought for each other for the victories still touches me even as an old-hand.
“And you see that Philippe Gilbert is not to troubled to open the race [with his Roche aux Faucons attack in Liège-Bastogne-Liège] for the others… That is the concept of the team: nobody is jealous. I will even go further: when I see a jealous rider, I get him out of my team.”
Jungels snuck off the front of the pack after the Roche aux Faucons climb and rode solo for 19.8km to win in Ans, Belgium, on Sunday. His win came partly in thanks to the team’s strength, having stars Julian Alaphilippe, the Flèche Wallonne victor on Wednesday, and Philippe Gilbert in the chase group to help distract his rivals.
“In Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Milan-San Remo, we were nowhere, but what happened? We attack and win in the races that followed,” Lefevere told Sporza in another interview.
“We have a bunch of young lions that are itching to break through. We’ve got them all in one line and they’re riding for each other, but you can only do that if you win.”
The wins add up to 27 so far in 2018, the most for any WorldTour team. Team Sky are second with 15 and Movistar third with 14.
“We are very content, it’s not possible to be better than this. Actually I should give a press conference tomorrow to announce that we are quitting in style,” he added.
“When Johan Museeuw stopped, people thought we had a problem. The same after Tom Boonen’s farewell. It seemed like we were amputated, but there were boys ready to take over.”
The team goes next to the Giro d’Italia, where the riders will be working for Elia Viviani in the sprints and Enric Mas in the mountains. In the Tour de France, Fernando Gaviria will have his first chance in the sprints while Bob Jungels will race for the overall.