There have been attempts to shrug off a possible feud at Soudal - Quick-Step, however the signs keep pointing towards a lot of dissatisfaction from Patrick Lefevere towards Julian Alaphilippe, who he is now claiming to be issuing incorrect statements.
"He says we didn't have that conversation, I say we did. His wife and his manager were there," Lefevere said during the Vellofolies TV show. "I told him I was not happy at all. I understand his illnesses and falls, but you can't keep hiding behind that. It was the cool truth. Everyone knows that I do not attack injured riders, but if there is a high price tag attached to it, then I can respond."
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Lefevere has been talking about the former World Championship over the last few months, commenting on how he did not appreciate his last seasons, and having little opinion on the fact that the Frenchman was swarmed in illnesses and injuries this year.
Alaphilippe recently that that "if he really had a problem with me, he would have spoken to me about it first." However Lefevere claims they did have the conversation, leading to some confusion. "Last year he won 2 times, the years before 3 and 4 times. I didn't take him into the team for that" Lefevere added.
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The high salary is likely a cause of this dispute as often Lefevere talks that Alaphilippe does not win enough for his pay, and demands more of the classics specialist. This year Alaphilippe will have special aim towards the Tour des Flandres within the classics, where the team looks to return to it's successful days.
Alaphilippe wasn't the only rider Lefevere was disappointed with however, mentioning aswell 2021 Tour des Flandres winner Kasper Asgreen: "That was more difficult. After his terrible fall in the Tour de Suisse, he absolutely wanted to go to the Tour [De France]. I assume most riders are honest, but he probably would have killed to ride the Tour. There was the Grand Départ in Denmark and the Tour passed 100 meters from his door."
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"But Kasper was not 100 percent okay. I took him off the course myself because it was not good," the manager of Soudal - Quick-Step added. The Dane had a terrific 2021 campaign with victories at the Tour des Flandres and E3 Saxo Classic, but failed to be in a similar level in 2022.
His second half of the season was equally rough, having ended it in July due to the lack of form and injuries that he had sustained before the race. "What did I say then? I was very disappointed. Because you didn't know when he would return. That one leg was gone, the muscle mass was gone. Kasper has not raced since that day, but the money should be there at the end of the month," he continued.
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"As a team you have the right to halve the wage after 3 months and to go to 0 after 6 months. I've never done that, but sometimes you should consider it," he argues. "He shouldn't get too nervous now either. He was last year in the Ronde and he blew up his bike by trying to follow Tadej Pogacar."