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Lefevere: Bettini could have taken over

Patrick Lefevere

Patrick Lefevere (Image credit:

Quick Step's general manager Patrick Lefevere has said that he offered Paolo Bettini a position within the team's management after retiring from cycling. The Belgian said his star Italian rider had originally planned on retiring at the end of this season.

"But he didn't want it," Lefevere explained. "The plan was for Bettini to retire at the end of 2008 and to step into a management role with the team.

"He would work with me for two years before purchasing my business," he added. "He would then be the general manager from a top team."

Bettini decided this year that he would continue for one more season, but Lefevere was unable to meet his demands for the Italian's salary. Bettini became an Olympic Games champion at Athens in 2004 and has won the last two UCI World Road Championships.

"I am not bitter about it," Lefevere said. "I listened to my head and not my heart, otherwise Paolo would have stayed.

"Now I have four top riders for the price of Bettini: Chavanel, Devolder, Tosatto and Schumacher," he added. "My decision was made quickly."