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"He wanted to talk to me in Abu Dhabi. When we saw each other, he immediately began to cry."

Photo: A.S.O.








14.10.2015 @ 15:47 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Yesterday Etixx-Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere made an appearance in the Belgian TV show Extra Time Koers and he offered some interesting quotes. Regarding Marcel Kittel: "They say I'm a tough guy, but I never take a rider that is ill or injured." Regarding Mark Cavendish: "He immediately started crying when he saw me." Regardini Tom Boonen: "If he has to recover for six months, it's over."


Next season Patrick Lefevere will see Mark Cavendish leave but he signed Marcel Kittel as a replacement. Can Lefevere get the German back to his former level?


"They say about me that I'm a tough guy, but I'm the last to sign someone who is sick or injured," said Lefevere.


"The manager of Giant-Alpecin is totally different from me. I will soon argue, while he is more of an ass-licker than I am.


"Why did Kittel necessarily have to ride in Oman and Qatar at the beginning of the season, even though he had to recover from a virus? To please ASO (also the Tour de France organizer).


"But to such a rider you should say: "Stay calm at home, what interests me are the four stages in the Tour. The rest plays no role.


"If you have once been a kermesse rider, you will always be a kermesse rider," Lefevere said of the mentality at Giant. "They think they can still put pressure on a rider in 2015."



While Lefevere will greet Kittel with open arms, the farewell to of Mark Cavendish was pretty tough, especially for  the rider himself.


"He wanted to talk to me in Abu Dhabi. When we saw each other, he immediately began to cry.


"’You know I do not want to leave,’ he said. Many people offer a lot of blah-blah, but with him you know it's real. He called it the best three years of his career. Then your heart gets soft.”


Lefevere himself did not cry. "The farewell to Sylvain Chavanel was also difficult. But I am in a position where I sometimes have to be tough. When it is about money."


Cavendish wanted to stay at Etixx-QuickStep. He was even interested in buying (a part of) the shares of Lefevere. "I would have liked that," said the manager. "What am I without all those shares? Nothing!"



Another rider who is close to Lefevere’s heart is Tom Boonen. Boonen had another year with bad luck. "Of the last 30 months he has only raced for 12," said Lefevere.


After the crash in Abu Dhabi, Boonen’s spring and the career are suddenly in danger. Lefevere has a different view of Boonen’s immediate future.


"Last winter I had a great discussion with Tom. We have never had such a fierce discussion during the last 13 years. That is why the contract negotiations have lasted so long.


"We were miles apart on what the end of Boonen’s career should look like. I wanted him to rider until Roubaix and then rotate into the staff to see what he could do.


"But Tom apparently had a proposal to ride until the spring of 2017. Finally, we have a compromise with a contract until the end of 2016. Then we will look at it day by day."


Can Boonen still ride his bike?  Personally he thinks he should recover for one month but the doctors say that it will take six months. "If it will be six months, it's over," Lefevere said. "He does have one advantage. He is razor sharp. I have never seen him so sharp."



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