Soudal - Quick-Step have for many years had clear ambitions for the Grand Tours, packed with stage hunters and sprinters.
With the evolution and necessary support for Remco Evenepoel now however things are different. Patrick Lefevere reveals that when the World Champion makes his Tour debut there will be no sprinter present.
"'Tim [Merlier] absolutely wanted to come to our team. I had doubts, because you see that teams with a classification man do not take a sprinter to a grand tour. That will be a problem in the future, when we go to the Tour with Remco Evenepoel. That will be without a sprinter.' Lefevere said Velofolies bike fair. He was asked about several of the team leaders and thought on Arnaud de Lie, however Lefevere talked about the team's sprinters and how when Remco Evenepoel makes his Tour de France debut, there won't be a secondary focus within the team.
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This year, like 2022, will see Fabio Jakobsen lead a stage-focused team. With the likes of Julian Alaphilippe and Tim Merlier also present within the team, it is easy to see how there could be clashes, but the manager of Soudal - Quick-Step looks to be clear from the start.
This year however Evenepoel will ride the Giro, with Jakobsen and Merlier targeting the Tour and Vuelta a Espana respectively. "But it has not yet been decided that the division will be that Jakobsen goes to the Tour and Merlier to the Vuelta," Lefevere admits. "Two years ago it was also decided that Bennett would go to the Tour and in the end Cavendish went in his place and won 4 stages."