Thursday Shorts

ASO have announced more details of the women’s Tour de France set for 2022. We already knew it will start in Paris before the men arrive and then have seven more stages, now a lot of details such as sponsorship and television coverage have been announced.

Today’s news has several features. First Zwift is the title or presenting sponsor, this blog has marvelled at the company’s marketing budget before and so it continues. LCL, the French bank that sponsors the yellow jersey will also sponsor the yellow jersey so podium lions for all, it looks like the race will have a similar visual identity to the Tour. Best of all there’s a broadcast deal with the EBU, the group of public service broadcasters across Europe and beyond, which means the live TV coverage will be free to air in many countries and this ensures the race is gets mainstream media treatment.

Partly because of ASO’s weight and because of the Tour de France’s stature – both are linked of course – the race looks set to become the premium event on the calendar but only if it can match expectations. The next question is the route and format and we’ll get answers in October when both the men’s and women’s races are presented in Paris. Ahead of that riding out of Paris suggest some kind of Paris-Nice format with an obligatory sprint stage on the Monday as there are no hills in a day’s ride and we can expect towns that host Paris-Nice, the Tour and Dauphiné to feature, think Saint-Etienne or Valence which seem to be hosting all three these days. Some mayors and politicians have said “non” to the Tour de France because it was men-only and now they practically have to bid for a stage.

Onto a different promise now. Juan Ayuso won the U23 Giro d’Italia and at ease on all sorts of terrain, all this and as you probably know, he’s only 18 years old. He seems as promising as everyone says… but he looks like the finished product already, his physique looks much more like that of a 25 year old pro. So how much he can keep progressing between today and the time he’s say, 25 remains to be seen. This will be interesting to see, he’s on a five year deal with the UAE Emirates team so they clearly see a long term future. He’s currently placed with Colpack, one of the top Italian U23 teams to be closer to the UAE team’s management. He was going to join the World Tour team in August but will start racing with them in June.

To a smaller team now but one with a very big backer. The Total Direct Energie team is now “Total Energies”. As a reminder the team was Direct Energie which is an electricity supplier in France. The sponsor was taken over by French oil major Total and so the company and the cycling team it sponsors became Total Direct Energie. Now it’s Team Total Energies and this could bring changes for the team, the sponsor is one of the largest companies in the world and surely can’t afford to look inferior on the road. They’re not going to become Ineos, but this might help bring Peter Sagan on board.

At least it’s been quickly rebranded, think of 2019 when the company Dimension Data was rebranded as NTT but the pro cycling team didn’t change name until the following year suggesting the squad was a marketing afterthought; NTT pulled out of team sponsorship a year later.

Talking of NTT, the current version of the team is Qhubeka-Assos but it seems the team sponsorship from Assos, the now US private equity owned clothing brand founded in Switzerland, is for one year as in this year. There’s talk Cofidis are after Giacomo Nizzolo as a replacement for Christophe Laporte who could be going to Jumbo-Visma. A rider like Nizzolo is central to the squad, an asset who sponsors can back.

Cofidis could also be shopping for Bryan Coquard as a sort of like-for-like replacement for Laporte in that they’re both French sprinters who haven’t won a World Tour race, even if their styles are very different. Cofidis have some budget to spare as Elia Viviani is off to Eolo. There have injuries and setbacks and he’s focused on the Olympics. The Italian sprinter won the final stage of the Adriatica Ionica Race today in a photofinish (pictured) while riding for the Italian national team which means he’s won more races in the blue jersey than with Cofidis.

One rider staying at Cofidis is Guillaume Martin. He’s been doing an altitude camp in the Jura mountains at Les Rousses, at about 1,100m above sea level. Which is not much for an altitude camp… but he’s staying at the French ski training centre which has hypoxic bedrooms so he can simulate sleeping and resting at a higher altitude. Several French cyclists have used the facilities, Romain Bardet stayed prior to the Innsbruck worlds where he finished second.

Back to bigger teams and Rohan Dennis looks set to swap Ineos for Jumbo-Visma. He could take over the Tony Martin role as the German’s career is coming to an end, a tractor to tow the peloton all day. But don’t rule him out as a top time triallist, he can thrive in the Olympic TT against Filippo Ganna if it’s a very hot day – and it usually is in August in Japan – as the Italian is so big he risks overheating.

But so far the transfer market isn’t overheating. Having tipped Almeida to go to Bora-Hansgrohe he could be going to UAE instead. Plenty of big riders are on the market starting with Alejandro Valverde – yes, he’s 9th on the UCI rankings, but surely not going anywhere but Movistar – and the likes of Geraint Thomas, Mikel Landa, George Bennett, Pascal Ackermann and many more need to be fixed which has a knock-on effect for other riders a wage bracket down, then onto the next and so on.

Lastly Prendas Ciclismo is changing its business model. The UK retailer’s been a big supporter of this site, sourcing and selling caps, socks, jerseys and more and always great to deal with Mick and Andy as owner-managers. But they’re now going to focus mainly on selling caps and as part of this they’ve got a big clearance sale on. They’ve helped a lot here so do take a look.

75 thoughts on “Thursday Shorts”

  1. I thought the rumour was that Peter Sagan was now staying at Bora (no one else wants to pay for the Sagan entourage) hence Pascal Ackermann getting the push from the Tour team

    Rohan Dennis doesnt seem to fit in anywhere, is he really going to want to take over the Tony Martin role of endless hours on the front of the peloton and getting into punch ups with Luke Rowe? I assume he will be in the Ineos TdF line up.

    • I was thinking the same – settled well, has a well-defined role in the team, seemed to appreciate the Ineos structure and has taken chances to win stages. Ineos seemed to have managed the ambitions of both Dennis and Ganna in the team too. Perhaps it’s simply a money thing or the reality isn’t quite the same as the Ineos PR…

        • I’m not sure that Jumbo-Visma will use Dennis purely in the Martin role, he’s proved himself far more versatile in the mountains than that?
          You’d assume that the Dutch team have offered him a good contract and more riding time in the big races, though Inr Rng is suggesting a move back to TTs?
          After years of trying, and finally succeeding, to reach that point of being a force on all terrains, why would Dennis revert back to being a specialist TT, wouldn’t he need a little more weight / power?
          I think J-V may have him for high level support for Roglic.

          • Do find it curious – does seem like Ineos managed his race programme well and he seems set for the Tour, given the group he’s been riding with for much of the year. Perhaps there’s a chance he’d have a bit more of an opportunity of leadership at Jumbo-Visma in some races, but there’s a decent number of stage racers there too!

    • It felt like everyone who wanted a cap or jersey had probably ordered one before, so asking Prendas to order another run and hold the stock was, well, not something I could insist on and didn’t want to either. Maybe I can look into something more and we’re getting to the point where some help from readers would be good in covering costs but what spare time there is goes on the blog, having more to dedicate to sourcing jerseys, making designs, handling sales etc is extra.

  2. Without wanting to flog a dead horse, I think Zwift’s marketing budget is so huge because it’s development budget seems to be… nonexistent.

    • I’m not a big user – being outdoors in all four seasons is an essential part of cycling for me – but it seems to work well and they add more features and circuits, is there anything particular?

      Just fascinated by its marketing spend, the relentless van der Poel / Geraint Thomas Zwift ad, it’s been on for a long time now and they’re across lots of other formats; several cycling news websites are running with the “Zwift to sponsor” the race headline rather than naming the other sponsors, the TV news etc. Zwift is omnipresent.

      • The core product is strong but the user community is crying out for the kind of improvements that come with maturity – various UI improvements, the end of “lead-ins”, better anti-sandbagging/anti-cheating devices – but the pace of change is extremely slow. Zwift prefer to roll out new routes instead of making the overall experience better.

        On the financial side, a quick look at Crunchbase ( showed they got a $450m investment late last year from KKR and, interestingly, they’ve put $13.5m into Supersapiens, who are also heavily marketing in races. Those are some deep pockets for a fairly small company.

        • I’ve barely used it, but my wife has used it a lot, and aside from some abysmal UI issues I think the graphics and “animation” are at Nintendo Super Mario Bros. levels. The visual engagement with what you’re doing is about 5% of what it could be.

          • I think the point is not actually good graphics, rather it is various upgrades and chase the guy in front of you down.

            Despite not being a big fan, have to admit that motivation can help you maintain power that bit longer, until you give up 😱

      • Not a big fan of Zwift, even though most of my intervals are done indoor. I’d rather put a race video on, have my wahoo control the intervals (felt the Wahoo built in power matching works much better than any 3rd party stuff).

        On the other hand, I may want to do more intervals outdoors. Too many riding on erg mode means I’m not good at pacing/control my power whilst outdoor. I suppose riding a 11-30 cassette jumping 2 if not 3 teeth between cogs all the time does not help.

    • Not sure if it’s still true, but when I was in IT, a traditional complaint of US software was their failure to invest. It used to be very normal to have your idea, and then market it and cash in.

      • I thought it was a UK company.

        The issue is who is your core audience that provides the bulk of cash, and what is their goal. I suspect it’s note hardcore cyclists trying to improve their training. Those goes to TrainerRoad or just use TrainingPeaks with a coach.

        Instead, it’s casual new comer trying to get some extra motivation to train more consistently or those with a gammer mentality enjoying show off and beating others (hence all the fancy upgrades and boosts).

        That said, if they are focusing on gamers, then preventing cheating should be high on their priority. And it probably is a high priority item for them. The problem here is that how much they can do policing hundred thousands of users over the internet. They are certainly not going to let the pursuit of fairness prevent more users from getting onto their platform.

        • Nah, US. Wikipedia: “The company responsible for Zwift, Zwift Inc., was cofounded by Jon Mayfield, Eric Min, Scott Barger and Alarik Myrin in California, United States, in 2014.”

  3. Thanks for the excellent roundup, as always.

    Small note: “they’re styles are very different” -> “their styles are very different”

  4. Olympic road race winner gets to style a golden helmet, accepted. Are there IOC dues for this?
    And what does the TT winner get to show for it over the next four years?

    Merch: Definitely do more caps and maybe a back pocket waterproof pouch. What about a vignette-style bartape finishing sticky?

    • The golden helmet is an invention in the sport to help distinguish the champion, in part because the IOC won’t let people use the Olympic branding. It’s a big prestigious win but the gains very much depend on the country, of whether the Olympics, or specifically cycling in the Olympics matter, to the nation, people in say, Kazakhstan will rate a win very highly, Flemish fans will tut that it’s a nice race but no Ronde etc.

    • ITT (and other non-road cycling discipline) winners get the same – they are offered the option of wearing a gold helmet during races of the discipline in which they won the gold medal.

    • The Women’s WorldTeam division is capped at 15 teams (and probably won’t reach that cap next year) and the remainder of the teams in the race will be Continental teams, so there probably will be some amateurs in the race.

      More investment is required to have enough pro teams (Women’s WorldTeams and all-pro teams in the Continental division) to have a whole race of exclusively pro riders. And that’s where the higher exposure of a TdF-F will assist, hopefully accompanied by other race organisers also upping the ante and giving their women’s races better quality courses that will increase the respect from fans.

      • I’ve asked this question before but why not again: The UCI should mandate ALL the WT teams (this assumes they’re continuing “Heinie’s Folly” which is another issue for another time) have a women’s team under the same sponsorship/branding. UCI can set a budget and number of riders, and salary level that must be met just like the rest of the requirements to get the WT license and guaranteed entry to the top events.
        There’s no f__ing excuse for big-budget teams like UAE, INEOS, etc. not to do this…there’s simply NFW they don’t have the money. The rest need to find it if they want to stay in the top-tier.

        • +100 Larry T.

          Another idea I’ve mulled is men’s team salary caps that are proportional to the women’s team budget. Give the male cyclists a vested interest in a strong women’s competition.

          But we all should remember that cycling fans have a part to play. More people watching and appreciating the women’s races will lead to more companies seeing the promotional opportunities of sponsoring women’s cycling.

        • I hear what people are saying when they argue this, but think about the consequences – what would that mean for women’s teams like SD-Worx/Boels and Canyon-SRAM who have done so much for women’s cycling? Would they just be pushed out? Women’s cycling isn’t just another version of men’s cycling with the same teams, it’s a different beast, it should be (and is) celebrated and enjoyed on its own terms. The WWT currently has 5 of its 9 teams under the banner of a men’s team, with Jumbo Visma, Lotto Soudal and Arkea at the next level down, that feels like organic progress. INEOS is creating a women’s team next season, if the rest won’t follow then their spot will be taken by a team that actively wants to push the sport forward. I’m not sure there’s anything to be gained by forcing teams into something they don’t want to do.

          • Very, very good point about SD-Worx/Boels and Canyon-SRAM.
            And yes, so many people seem to think that women’s cycling should just be a female version of men’s cycling. Personally, I’d rather see a proper grand tour (at least two weeks, to start with – that’s probably against UCI rules – but no reason women can’t ride bikes for three weeks) for women that is not related to any of the men’s grand tours. A Tour of Germany would be ideal: big audience, mountains and it wouldn’t be compared with a men’s GT. But how women’s cycling develops should be down to women, not men with ideas about a Tour of Germany nor unwilling male teams with a female team as an extension.

  5. I don’t want any f__king “merch”, OK? Sad to see Prendas go away but these days everyone and his fratello is a cycling clothing magnate. The old guard keeps on keepin’ on (Nalini, Santini, Sportful, etc.) while the others get taken over or some out-of-nowhere operations pop up like mushrooms every other month it seems. Kind of like bike tour companies now that I think about it.
    Set up a DONATE scheme so I can throw (via Paypal) some loot into your account to keep you keepin’ on, unless the other commenters want to “vote me off the island” as they say. But keep Gabriele, OK?

    • I for one would like to see an end to people complaining about other commenters. I like having disparate opinions here, including strong opinions, and those I disagree with. If you don’t like what someone says, you can either ignore it or tell them why they’re wrong – and either of those responses is fine, as long as we keep it about cycling. What you don’t have is a right to say that ‘this person is ruining this site’ or to make personal comments about that person. (And when you do write that, bear in mind that you only speak for yourself.)
      Personally, I’m very happy to see the return of both Gabriele – with all his knowledge and tangents – and Larry, whose comments I vehemently disagree with 50% of the time, while vehemently agreeing with the other 50%. For me, those are opinions I’m interested in reading (and if I don’t like it, I don’t have to read it.)

  6. I have to admit that I go through phases with this site as well. Mostly because of other commentators.

    You guys are part of the appeal for me. There is always someone who contributes and elaborates to Monsieur Ring’s articles in an interesting way. But there are also some assholes on here. And sometimes they’re both at the same time.

    Today is one of the days where I agree with Larry T. I don’t need to flash a statement T-shirt or cap at this point in my life, but I would donate to this site if I were given that possibility. It’s a great site!

    • There’s a part of me that sort of feels like this site could do with a YouTube model where contributors make the site more interesting and get paid for it – though I come for Inrng’s writing first and foremost. And, really, a pay for comment website would in reality be a terrible idea in a way (popular comments garnering more money over actually interesting comments).
      Anyway, my two pennies worth is that patreon type funding seems a winner, but I also love good merchandise. A clever t-shirt design and bike related equipment/tools/other. If the balance between quality and design is right, the stuff sells itself.
      I confess I have a cap, but the colours ran after a ride in the rain 🙁

      • That doesn’t stop me from buying more, because the point is more about subsidising, rather than anything, but I have tighter budgets with the kids

  7. I’m not quite sure what’s happening in pro sport currently. Cycling is being taken over by people who are barely out of childhood while sports like tennis are eternally stuck in the noughties. As Inrng hints, maybe these young cyclists will plateau before they’re 25… or maybe they’ll still be riding away from everyone in 2039. I know sports science is supposedly in a golden era but it’s starting to feel slightly ridiculous.

    • More likely it shows procycling is against doping, whilst tennis is ‘on top’ of the issue.

      Here speaks someone who had the very same type of corticosteroid injection yesterday and I feel like the weight of age is lifted. Just need the HGH and a young blood transfusion to be like I was back in the nineties.
      – This stuff is said to be routine in some sports as its living legends age.

      • Or tennis is more skill rather then physio demand intensive. I knew the 3 time Chinese national champion who was actually the slowest when it comes to short distance dash and certainly has much less endurance than some of the other players.

        • The argument goes that skill means drugs don’t have any affect in sports like tennis, golf, baseball and football… and yet doping happens in everyone of them. They are just much better at keeping a lid on things. Check out ‘tennis has a problem with steroids’. There’s an interesting piece about Serena or her sister calling the police and hiding in her panic room when he rang her front door bell. The out of competition test didn’t take place needless to say.
          In any respect one of things that corticosteroids do is allow you to continue playing and practising to improve those skills when your body might just shut down so it doesn’t hold true that skill cancels doping. It’s also interesting that golfers and baseball players dope. The thinking is that anabolics also have an effect on coordination and balance which improve player ability. Or, they may just be a mental crutch.

          • Surely the point is that drugs have proportionately less effect – not no effect – in sports where skill is more of a premium?

          • I’m aware of doping in Tennis. My comments are more about why tennis player seems to last longer into their late 30s and skill focus may play some part (as doping most certainly also does).

            That said, you did send me into a rabbit hole about doping in golf. Looks like they have a Fastina affair on their doorstep ready to happen.

          • I follow baseball, and doping seems to be routine. If caught, players miss half a season or so and then come back as though nothing had happened. There are occasional exceptions, where a reputation is severely tarnished (think Barry Bonds) but I’m not sure what the threshold is.

            Although it’s a technical sport, power does have a part to play. A few mph on the fastball can make a big difference to a pitcher’s effectiveness/marketability, while a lot of the best hitters are large – Newton’s third law of motion, etc – so bulking up can turn a fly ball into a home run.

            Although I have little interest in golf, Bryson deChambeau’s story shows that success can be had by a dramatic increase in bulk and power. (Worth nothing: his approach has divided opinion but I don’t recall seeing anyone suggest he’d got bigger by doping. Maybe golfers just don’t care whether that’s the case or not.)

            For tennis, power plays a part too but I think boosting endurance or recovery is going to be the priority for five set matches and big tournaments. We know Spanish players were caught up (but not actually caught) in Operacion Puerto and the likes of Andy Murray have been outspoken about how lax the testing programme is.

          • Doping isn’t just about power and speed. It can be about endurance, bulking up, dropping weight, aiding recovery, and so on. As athletes age, I suspect recovery in particular is the primary problem in “skill sports” that doping can assist.

          • To Andrew,

            If you search golf doping, there’s a lot about how tiger doped through his career. There’s also a guy who bulked up during lockdown (two T-shirt sizes up) to win a major tournament. Really raised some eyebrows. Fair to say that it is at where cycling was early 90s and people are starting to feel the discontent.

  8. Hi InnerRing

    I’d be more than happy to pay a yearly fee to access bonus content or something similar (like some of the podcasts do) in recognition of the awesome work you do here on the website and how much enjoyment and insight I have gotten from it over the years.
    Thanks and keep up the terrific work.

  9. Hi InnerRing

    I’d be more than happy to pay a yearly fee to access bonus content or something similar (like some of the podcasts do) in recognition of the awesome work you do here on the website and how much enjoyment and insight I have gotten from it over the years.
    Thanks and keep up the terrific work.

      No mention of what salary level he’s on so it seems it’s a marriage of convenience for both Lefevere and the Manx Missile. I’d guess Lefevere and Cavendish are really glad that Lefevere ” and sponsor Specialized threw him a lifeline this year and he has repaid the team with five victories so far. “?
      Can he repay them a few times more at Le Grand Boucle?
      With this team supporting him he’ll have no excuses if the wins don’t come, but OTOH it’ll be a great comeback story if they do. Perhaps LeTour 2021 will be the “British Senior’s Tour”, Cavendish at 36 in green, Thomas at 35 in yellow and Froome at 36 in polka-dots? Nah! Never mind.

      • Chris Froome is pushing it a bit, be interesting to see if any of them make Paris.

        On the sponsor’s side, whilst Cav winning a stage would make a brilliant story him just being there is a story in itself. He will generate more column inches / pixels than practically all the other riders. I would guess the sponsors will be more than happy with that and I am sure they would be happy to stump up whatever “bonus” payment is needed.

        • Lefevere has a confusing love of stirring the pot (as we’ve seen recently with Cavendish, and now Bennett). Cavendish had the sense not to react.

        • And you KNOW that how? Don’t forget I admitted to a Love/Hate opinion on The Manx Missile. Now he can STFU and let his legs do the talking…it would really be a great story if he can take even one victory at Le Grand Boucle….and I’d bet some extra money will come his way if he can pull one off.
          OTOH how much support will there be for Lulu now? IMHO this is his last/best chance to wear yellow in Paris + he’s forsaken the Olympic Games to try for it. I was kinda/sorta hoping Bennett’s bad knee and Cavendish’ attitude would see the Wolfpack devoted entirely to a French Tour win. Can they pull off both objectives?

          • I know it because Cavendish said it wasn’t about the money, and is now going to the Tour without a change in his contract. Now, maybe his contract was changed, and Lefevere and Cavendish have uncharacteristically chosen to keep this quiet, but given the way Lefevere is giving a stream-of-consciousness commentary of the situation, that seems unlikely.

            Now if you want to say that a rider who wins at the Tour can command more money, and this is actually Cavendish’s primary motivation, then you can use that logic to say that EVERY rider wants to win because they want more money. I think that’s wrong. And the point has nothing to do with your affection, or lack of, for Cavendish. You just made the blanket statement that when people say “it’s not about the money” that one can conclude that it is, in fact, about the money.

          • You just made the blanket statement that when people say “it’s not about the money” that one can conclude that it is, in fact, about the money.
            I did and I do, based on my own decades of experience of hearing and reading claims that “it’s not about the money” since if it wasn’t why do they always need to say/write it? It’s like that other old business phrase when times are tough: “We’re partners, all in this together” when they want you to work for next-to-nothing, with implications that once things turn around you’ll get your share. But when/if that happens they remind you that “You’re just an employee” as you get screwed over.
            In some ways one might say Lefevere and Cavendish deserve each other? 🙂

        • “if you love something enough you should be willing to do it regardless of the money” is a powerful device that is central to the modern economy (and the problems that are building inside of it).

        • Someone made a comment about this is actually a ready excuse should Cav falter at the Tour.

          It is just interesting that Don Patrick slam Bennet for fearing to lose whilst providing a ready excuse for Cav.

  10. My recollection was that the level of payment wasn’t raised by Cav – it was a comment by Lefevere who said it was Cav’s reaction to the possibility. Lefevere may have accurately reported Cav’s reaction but taking everything Lefevere says as gospel isn’t necessarily the smart move.

    • According to Lefevere when he raised the possibility of Cav going to the Tour, Cavendish responded by saying he wasn’t paid enough to take on that level of stress and responsibility. Cavendish didn’t dispute that he’d raised the issue of payment in relation to the Tour responsibility, but reframed it that what he’d meant was he was concerned more about planning and preparation, and that he wasn’t in fact hung up about the money aspect.

      Of course Lefevere shoots off his mouth and is prone to exaggeration and hyperbole, but he’s also very calculating in what he says much of the time. If he was already cooling on the idea of Bennett going to the Tour, and he wanted Cavendish to let go of the contract upgrade idea, his leaking Cavendish’s reaction about salary would be an excellent way of getting Cavendish to reconsider and gracefully retreat from that position, which is exactly what happened.

      • Do we really know what exactly happened? Why should we assume that Lefevere would tell us that, yes, he did agree to upgrade Cavendish’s contract? Why should we assume that it was Lefevere’s public statement that turned Cavendish’s head around? Or indeed why should we assume that Cavendish wasn’t in fact quite ready to jump on the opportunity even before it was entirely certain there would be one? 😀

        • Agreed – can’t say for certain what happened. Lefevre appears to be “honest and open” when talking to the media about Bennet, Cav, or anyone, but it’s all strategic. He’s holding back or trying to achieve a purpose. Nothing can be taken at face value.

          All I know is, the Tour has a huge lineup, a pretty open GC battle, Brailsford has pretty successfully taken the heat off any one of his riders and please god, please let Cav get some stage wins. Love him or hate him, I think he’s a great personality and it would be an amazing story for him to have rebuilt his career/form to be able to compete and win at Le Beeg Shew.

          The GC battle will be tight, I’m praying no one gives UAE a break by giving a limo ride to Pogacar et. al. I think his major weakness is his team, and they will find it very hard to control the race, or lead the group for thousands of km on flat, descents, lower climbs etc. So, with any luck the other GC teams will light them up every time we hit mountains because in theory Ineos/JV and the other GC teams will be super fresh when they get to the high mountains. Or, they might find cross wind chaos opportunities too.

      • Hard to know if Lefevere was creating his own narrative, or simply vomiting the truth. From CN:

        In his weekly column in Het Niewsblad, Lefevere stated that he spoke with Cavendish about competing in another Grand Tour, but Cavendish said, “not at this salary, no.”
        “It’s not fair to have a rider with a minimum contract as a Deceuninck-QuickStep lead sprinter, with all the pressure and expectations that come with it,” Lefevere wrote.

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