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When one thinks of Deceuninck-Fast-Step, burly beefcakes barreling over cobblestones come to thoughts, proper?
Possibly not eternally. Patrick Lefevere’s “Wolfpack” is quietly amassing a bunch of riders able to lighting up the grand excursions – nearly greater than the staff can deal with, the truth is.
This summer time noticed Julian Alaphilippe once more mild up the Tour de France with three days within the yellow jersey and a stage win. Only a month later, João Almeida held the Giro d’Italia’s pink jersey for a beyond-all-belief 15 days, ably supported by rising abilities James Knox and Fausto Masnada, each who completed within the top-15. Oh, and did we point out 20-year-old Remco Evenepoel, the younger man the Belgian nation is hoping will grow to be the subsequent Eddy Merckx?
Abruptly, Deceuninck-Fast-Step’s cobble crushing collective is taking over a whippety, stage-racing hue, and 65-year-old Lefevere needs to take advantage of it earlier than his 18-year-long tenure with the staff involves a detailed. The veteran Belgian supervisor just lately made clear in an interview with Sporza that he hopes to land the grand tour victory lacking from Fast-Step’s bumper trophy cupboard within the very close to future, and he has a staff able to doing it.
Two riders stand front-and-center of a theoretical yellow jersey bid: Remco Evenepoel and Julian Alaphillipe. On the idea that the Frenchman extends his contract past its 2021 expiry, who does Deceuninck-Fast-Step rally behind in a GC marketing campaign?
Although Evenepoel doubtless received’t be able to problem for a yellow jersey in his very first Tour de France subsequent summer time, Lefevere hopes that the younger prodigy would be the man to ship the yellow jersey that might hold him heat in retirement. Nonetheless, Alaphilippe is as formidable as ever and holds the Tour de France as his guiding star, just lately telling Eurosport that profitable the Tour could be a career-topping dream.
Lefevere has probably the most surprising and delicate of dilemmas on his fingers, although one which many managers would promote an arm for.
2021 is probably not the time for Fast-Step’s Tour de France assault, with Evenepoel and Alaphilippe each holding main ambitions on the Tokyo Olympics, which begin only one week after the Tour rolls into Paris. However within the years past that, Lefevere could also be left managing two equally-talented, equally-hungry riders.
On the one hand, there’s the extra skilled and confirmed Alaphilippe, the darling of the house crowd. On the opposite, there’s Evenepoel, seemingly able to something – a minimum of till his horrific crash this summer time – and maybe crucially, a Belgian prodigy driving for a Belgian supervisor on a Belgian staff.
Would Lefevere ship each riders to the Tour with equal alternative and help? Or if he did, would there be the potential for management clashes that mired the lead-up to Ineos Grenadiers’ 2020 Tour de France? Or is Alaphilippe able to racing for the yellow with no squad of teammates round him, as he did in his exceptional race in the summertime of 2019?
In the end, it’s doubtless that pre-Tour type and the parcours served up by ASO would dictate Lefevere’s most suitable choice.
A time trial-heavy route reminiscent of that of the 2021 Tour would put Evenepoel within the driving seat, whereas the aggressive and explosive parcours of this yr and that earlier would play in Alaphilippe’s favor.
It’s a conundrum that Lefevere is probably going hoping will resolve itself by having Alaphilippe fall again to his conventional line of desirous to hunt for phases slightly than GC. However as some extent to invest over, the prospect of Evenepoel and Alaphilippe each racing for the yellow jersey in opposition to the would possibly of Ineos Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma, and UAE-Group Emirates is one which biking followers ought to be salivating over.