Lefevere hits back after Jakobsen settles Cavendish Tour de France debate

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It’s fair to say that Patrick Lefevere wasn’t the most popular man on social media this week. It’s also fair to say that he doesn’t really care. And yet, there was a sense of vindication on Nyborg on Saturday afternoon.

Fabio Jakobsen won Stage 2 of the Tour de France and in doing so, removed any doubts about the wisdom of the QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl manager’s team selection.

Despite winning four stages and the green jersey last year, Cavendish was left at home, in favor of rookie Jakobsen, who rose to the top of the sprint ranks after his fatal crash in 2020.

Cavendish is on the brink of history – tied with Eddy Merckx on the record for Tour stage wins – and calls for his inclusion only intensified following his sensational victory at the British National Championships last Sunday .

Lefevere, however, shrugged off the clamor and has now seen his faith in Jakobsen rewarded from the first request.

“I’m a wise old man and the winner is always right, so right now I’m right,” Lefevere said. Cycling news at Nyborg.

“I don’t have to justify myself to some people who maybe aren’t smart enough to understand some things. We made a decision hand on heart. Mark already knew that from January. This week we called, he was very clean and said ‘Patrick, I’ll be ready if you need me’. But we didn’t need him.”

Cavendish wasn’t the only controversial omission from QuickStep’s Tour de France lineup. World champion Julian Alaphilippe was left at home, deemed too far from his best after recently recovering from a bad fall in late April. On top of that, new French champion Florian Sénéchal was also left out initially, despite being brought in as Tim Declercq’s COVID replacement.

Despite the upheaval and the absentees, QuickStep-AlphaVinyl could not have started the Tour better, Yves Lampaert taking a surprise victory in the opening time trial and then wearing the yellow jersey in the second stage won by Jakobsen.

“It’s not easy to leave the British champion, the French champion and the world champion at home, but we’re here and we’re winning, and the rest is history,” Lefevere said.

“People have to sell newspapers, but I don’t care what they write about me. I’m old and very thick-skinned. I’m here, they’re winning, and everything else is history.

“I don’t want to answer all these people. What do they know about cycling? I’m 40 here.”

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