One week ahead of the Tour of Flanders, one of the most illustrious Classics teams is still without a Spring Classics victory. Just like in Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Record Bank E3 Harelbeke, the Etixx-QuickStep team was unable to put other teams on the defense during Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem.
Team leader Zdenek Stybar was unable to mark the decisive move with eventual winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) and Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo). They were forced to lead the chase in Gent-Wevelgem. They received some support but still they were unable to bring back the four-man breakaway move for their sprinter Fernando Gaviria.
Team manager Patrick Lefevere didn’t want to throw in the towel just yet although he wasn’t pleased with what he saw. He was particularly tough on Stybar. At the finish, Cyclingnews was there to hear what Lefevere had to say while the rain started to pour down hard at the Etixx-QuickStep team bus.
“It’s too bad it only starts to rain now since we perform better in the rain,” Lefevere joked. “I saw the same thing like Friday. The team was just not good enough. Stybar wants to be the leader but he had to sit down and was again on ten metres and failed. In the background we were chasing. This time some teams were helping. I saw that we couldn’t close it down. The best riders were up front,” Lefevere said.
“We tried to anticipate, first with Trentin and then with Vandenbergh. I can’t say nothing wrong about my team. We always raced like this, although we had more success with it in the past.”
With regards to the Tour of Flanders, Lefevere wasn’t hopeful, but he expects more from Paris-Roubaix. “There’s still two weeks. Tom is improving every day after his injury. He’s still lacking something on the climbs. Let’s pray that Paris-Roubaix can be D-day. What can we do differently next week… nothing. I preferred to be in a different position but I’m not panicking. Panic is not a good advisor. Listening to journalists isn’t what we need to do now. There’s no resignation, too. There’s another small race called Roubaix, too. Hopefully we can talk about something else than what the outer world sees as failure in two weeks time.”
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