Sagan won’t join Deceuninck-Quickstep
Patrick Lefevere revealed in his weekly Het Nieuwsblad column that he won’t sign Peter Sagan. The Belgian team did however reach a new six-year deal with Specialized. Sagan comes with an entourage of riders and staff and Lefevere indicates he doesn’t want a team within the team. “I can’t unite that with our Wolfpack philosophy.”
It’s not that Lefevere doesn’t believe in Sagan anymore, despite his being deemed by his current Bora-hansgrohe team manager Ralph Denk as ‘past his prime’ and ‘earning too much money’.
“We have shown time and time again that we can get older riders back on track. I am convinced we would be able to do the same with Sagan,” Lefevere stated.
The link between Sagan and Deceuninck-Quickstep comes through Specialized, the American bike brand paying a substantial part of Sagan’s salary. Deceuninck-Quickstep has been riding Specialized for many years and have renewed the contract until 2027.
“Zdenek Bakala [main sponsor] and Mike Sinyard [CEO Specialized] went on a bike ride together and Zdenek liked the idea of signing Sagan. It all fit well but I stepped on the brakes. Sagan comes with his brother, Erik Baska, Daniel Oss and Maciej Bodnar, two mechanics, two soigneurs, a PR manager, a hospitality manager and a sports director. I don’t want a team within my team.”
“Sagan’s manager Giovanni Lombardi indicated that that team of eleven could be altered but he just recently told me there was a team who would take the whole package. I read that’s Total-Direct Energie. I like Sagan for his loyalty in wanting to find places for the people around him but our cooperation will be for a next life.”
Lefevere is working on his team for 2022 because many of the riders have contracts that end this year.
“I am not in a rush to sign new riders. I first talk with the current riders like Florian Senéchal, Mattia Cattaneo and Fabio Jakobsen and I have some talks scheduled in the Giro. Judging by my inbox our team is still very popular. Even riders who left are now in contact to return but I won’t name names. I take my time. At the end of the transfer season there are bargains and I like to have some budget left.”