Deceuninck - Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere has revealed he nearly sold a stake in his cycling team to Israel Start-Up Nation's Sylvan Adams in 2018, the billionare having been looking for an avenue into the WorldTour.
"I was looking for a sponsor, he wanted to make the step to the World Tour," Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad. "We were very close to a deal. Not to say it was as good as done. It would have involved me staying on board for another three years under the agreement."
Lefevere and Adams met in a London hotel two years ago, with the Belgian saying he had agreed on the amount of money Adams would put in in return for a stake in the team, a well as the team's bike manufacturer, riders and team management.
However, the deal with window manufacturer Deceuninck then materialised, leading to the cancellation of the merger with Adams.
"It was only because we still found a sponsor with Deceuninck that the project was cancelled," Lefevere explains, with Israel Cycling Academy, then a Pro-Continetal outfit, finding a way into the WorldTour by merging with Katusha-Alpecin in October 2019.
The rumours of Israel Start-Up Nation potentially acquiring Chris Froome as the four-time Tour winner looks for an outright leadership position to try and win a fifth title doesn't surprise Lefevere, saying he found Adams to be very ambitious when the pair met.
"I got to know Israel lender Sylvan Adams as a very ambitious man. With the financial scope to make his plans come true. I don't have any inside information, but I'm sure their pockets are deep enough to complete that transfer."
As belief grows that Froome will seek a future away from Ineos, who have won seven of the last eight Tours de France, Lefevere wrote in his latest Het Nieuwblad column he believes Dave Brailsford would be correct in not fully backing Froome for both this year's French Grand Tour and future editions.
"I'm not going to speak for anyone else here, but personally I wouldn't invest in a project around Froome anymore. Respect for his palmarès, but will he still win the Tour at the age of 35?" Lefevere said.
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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