Quick.Step-Innergetic general manager Patrick Lefevre went into the 2005 Tour de France with high ambitions. What he wanted was a few stage wins and overall victory in the green jersey competition from his star rider Tom Boonen, as well as a top-10 finish in Paris with Michael Rogers - but the end result was that his team realised only one of out three objectives. Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan talked to him about what went wrong, and finds one of cycling's wise old men is still incredibly motivated by thoughts of a rainbow jersey.
Every once in a while, a rider comes along which Patrick Lefevre just can't let go. Once, it was Johan Museeuw. Then it was Paolo Bettini. Now it's Tom Boonen.
"Well, I think I can say that even though I don't have such a big budget anymore, the image of my team, Quick.Step-Innergetic, is still one of the three best in the world - and that's important," said Lefevre to Cyclingnews, speaking about the difference between his time at the helm of super-team Mapei in the 90s and today.
"We are very professional and we have charismatic riders; I had until last year [Richard] Virenque, I had [Johan] Museeuw, and now I have Boonen and Bettini... people like our team."
While he was reminiscing about the good old days, we felt it was a good time to ask a man who has seen Lance Armstrong come, grow, win and now leave the sport on the highest of high notes, what it means.
Said Lefevre: "I understand his decision; I have a lot of respect for Armstrong the athlete, because coming back after his illness was not so easy. I can only say that I have a lot of respect for the way he did it - he took cycling to a higher level and professionalism, and I wish him a good life after his career."
Though for 24 year-old Tom Boonen, his career's only just getting started.
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