Lefevere needs more sponsors to sign Sagan
On Tuesday it was announced that Quickstep inked a sponsorship extension with Patrick Lefevere, but on the same day the Belgian team also lost its naming sponsor Deceuninck, a manufacturer of windows. Just when Lefevere had hoped to increase his budget coming from the West Flemish company from ~6 to 9 million euros, he finds himself with a deficit or at best an equal budget to 2021, Het Laatste Nieuws reports.
Recently the contracts of Deceuninck-Quickstep’s two most important rider were extended. Julian Alaphilippe signed until 2025 and Remco Evenepoel to 2027. Tour of Flanders winner Kasper Asgreen and world class sprint lead-out man Michael Mørkøv also signed new deals with the Belgian team. These contract extensions made the assumption that Lefevere had a multi-year sponsor lined up, but so far it’s only Quickstep again.
“I am working on a six-year project,” Lefevere tells Het Laatste Nieuws. “And not on my budget for 2022 alone. Those are two things. Quickstep has now extended. It’s important that someone makes the first step. Other sponsors will likely follow now. I hope the results of Alaphilippe and Evenepoel inspire new sponsors to come onboard.”
Remco Evenepoel is the most important rider in that six-year vision. Lefevere has tried for many years to get a Grand Tour winner on board and with the young Belgian, currently second in the Giro d’Italia at the time of writing, he has that chance. With Joao Almeida leaving, the team needs support for Evenepoel in the mountains.
Lefevere also confirms he is in negotiations with Peter Sagan. The Slovakian rider and Bora-hansgrohe will not continue at the end of 2021. Specialized is responsible for a large portion of Sagan’s salary so a move to the other World Tour on Specialized seems logical.
However, Sagan doesn’t come alone. The package of Sagan, Juraj Sagan, Maciej Bodnar, Daniel Oss, a personal mechanic, soigneur and press officer is eight million euros, according to Het Laatste Nieuws. Sagan himself would get about 5,5 million from that amount.
“I can’t make eight million magically appear,” Lefevere was quoted. “I also don’t want a team within my team.” But the Belgian manager also admits that he is interested in the enigmatic rider and feels that Sagan’s career isn’t on a dead end street.
“If I want to be able to afford Sagan, I will have to talk to my sponsors again. If they are not ready to add the extra money, I can’t take him.”