Patrick Lefevere's long-term successor as the man in charge of the Soudal Quick-Step outfit appears to have been found, with the team announcing a new Chief Operations Officer on Thursday.
Jurgen Foré, the son of former Paris Roubaix, Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem winner Noël Foré, will join Lefevere’s team from Deloitte in the new year to take on the daily management of the project.
Lefevere will turn 69 in January and recently indicated that his team appeared to have found his successor. Lefevere first worked as a directeur sportif on the Quick-Step team, and then eventually became general manager, after ending his career as a rider in 1979. He has made it clear in recent months that he is looking for a way to step back from cycling after his decades in the sport.
53-year-old Foré appears to be the man that was alluded to in Lefevere’s Het Nieuwsblad interview. Lefevere said a COO had been found last weekend.
“That’s not a simple quest, because I can’t get it wrong,” he said.
“I always joke that 'with thirty riders per season I can get one transfer wrong'. Not in the role of successor. But we have found someone who will start in a role as COO.”
Foré will oversee the sporting management of the team of Remco Evenepoel which will include making decisions on race calendars, rider programmes, rider recruitment and retainment.
As well as hailing from a family rich in cycling history, Foré also has experience of working with Flanders Classics - the organiser of the Tour of Flanders amongst other races - and he has previously worked with the Lotto-Dstny team.
Speaking of his appointment, Foré said: “I am excited because for me it is things coming together – I was a cyclist up to the age of 23, where life made me make some other choices.
“I went for a different professional career, in consulting, which means that I can now combine my love for cycling with my professional experience.
“I am passionate about getting the best out of a team and organisation, and it all comes together in this role, which is a unique opportunity that excites me.”
In the press release from Soudal Quick-Step, Patrick Lefevere said he was “delighted” to have Foré on board.
“He is a man that has an impressive CV, that mixes both a love and knowledge of cycling, with business and executive acumen and experience.
"He will help to develop our team to be even more successful both as an organisation and a business, as well as sportingly, and I know everybody at Soudal Quick-Step is looking forward to working with him.”
Former Quick-Step DS Brian Holm recently told Cycling Weekly that who would eventually replace Lefevere was often a hot topic of discussion in his days working for the team.
He said: “He's 68, it's about time to think about his retirement because what he's doing is a very, very tough job and he's had the job since like 1979. So sooner or later, we all have to pull out.
“I mean, it's just a matter of time [until Lefevere steps down]… A big thing we always talked about when I was a DS at the team was who will take over after Patrick? Nobody can do his job, nobody.
“I was there 10 years and I told Patrick, who can take over after you? It's such a big job…. It’s a 24 hour job.”
Meanwhile, Quick-Step rider programmes and objectives for 2024 are still to be confirmed. Nevertheless it is widely expected that Remco Evenepoel will make his Tour de France debut in 2024 and the likes of Kasper Asgreen will lead the team's Classics squad.
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