Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl boss Patrick Lefevere has said there is “0%” chance of Remco Evenepoel leaving his team for Ineos Grenadiers.
In an interview with Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Lefevere responded to the media storm surrounding a text message he received from Ineos Grenadiers boss Dave Brailsford, in which the Brit seemingly enquires about signing the new world champion.
“It’s too stupid for words,” Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad. “Is there a very small chance [of Evenepoel leaving]? 0%. For me it is unmentionable.
“Remco himself told me on the phone that I shouldn’t believe it,” the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team manager said. “But actually I had to laugh at the whole saga. There will be a lot of discussion in the café and maybe five more newspapers will be sold, but all because of a message.”
The message in question, initially reported on by VeloNews on Wednesday, was sent by Brailsford after Evenepoel's victory in the World Championship road race. “Patrick, congrats, what a rider! If you want to sell him, call me," it read.
When asked about the text, Lefevere said: “There was indeed no smiley or anything, but I don't think he sent that with ulterior motives. I know Dave. He is a special guy, but likeable and we run into each other regularly at big events. I replied that he might have to buy my whole team.”
Evenepoel is currently under contract with Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl until 2026, having penned a five-year deal last April.
“Nothing is binding in life,” said Lefevere, alluding to the Belgian’s contract. “But I will do my utmost to keep those agreements. I don’t like to use the word ‘family’ because if you are married you can always divorce one day, but there are no intentions in that sense.”
Lefevere added that he will meet for dinner with the 22-year-old’s father and agent, Patrick Evenepoel, this Thursday to talk about the new world champion’s future.
“We're going to discuss how we're going to handle it all in the coming weeks,” the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl boss said. “The ceremony in Brussels, that race in Binche, and so on. I also called Remco briefly and he will also try to stop by briefly. They both urged me not to believe the Ineos saga. It's much more important how we handle everything that comes to that boy."
Evenepoel is set to receive a hero’s welcome in Brussels on Sunday, with a parade planned in the city's Grand Place. The Belgian's next race - his first in the rainbow jersey - will be Binche-Chimay-Binche, a one-day event scheduled to take place on 4 October.
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