"He had been on a trip to Las Vegas in six days" - Patrick Lefevere claims Mauro Schmid lied to team and went on secret vacation

Soudal - Quick-Step have been going through a turbulent overhaul over the last few months, as they prepare to switch attention from Classics wins to fully backing Remco Evenepoel. Now, Patrick Lefevere has spoken out to address some of the concerns.

“Attentive cycling followers will have already noticed: there are many riders who are leaving our team this year. There are currently nine 'certain' departures, in addition to Dries Devenyns who is retiring from racing," writes the Soudal - Quick-Step boss in his column for Het Nieuwsblad. "We also had fifteen riders who have reached the end of their contracts, so it is logical that there is a lot of turnover."

Not all of these riders will be missed though it seems. “I could say that saying goodbye is never pleasant, but in practice it varies considerably from case to case," Lefevere continues. “You sometimes lose riders who sign a contract for another team. Literally in the case of Mauro Schmid, who will move to Jayco-AlUla after this season."

"After the World Championships in Glasgow he disappeared from the radar. When trainer Koen Pelgrim asked why his data had not been loaded into our training program, he said that his Garmin was broken," recalls Lefevere. "It later turned out that he had been on a trip to Las Vegas in six days. At the end of the season you spend fewer words saying goodbye.”

One rider who will be missed though is Tim Declerq. “Yes, that is with a heavy heart. I would have loved to keep him, he would have loved to stay, but there is a financial reality," he explains. "Tim is in a certain salary range. He wanted to reduce his price slightly, but I didn't like that. In my experience: a rider who earns less is a driver who will perform less. We were unable to reach an agreement and he received a nice offer from Lidl-Trek, a team that clearly has money.”

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