Deceuninck-QuickStep team manager Patrick Lefevere says that his riders don't need to change anything when it comes to preparing for the spring Classics – despite having been impressed by this year's Amstel Gold, Brabantse Pijl and Dwars door Vlaanderen winner Mathieu van der Poel, who he calls "a phenomenon".
"We don't feel as though we need to do anything differently," Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad when asked if he and his riders needed a new approach to deal with the likes of Van der Poel and Jumbo-Visma star Wout van Aert, who both came to the spring Classics from a winter racing cyclo-cross at the highest level, and have been two of road cycling's biggest stars so far this season.
"They're cyclo-cross riders, and have a specific approach. But today, their road season ends," he said after Amstel Gold on Sunday – although Van Aert is also scheduled to ride the Critérium du Dauphiné stage race and the Belgian road championships in June.
"For the other boys, the season just continues. We've already taken 24 victories, including Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix," Lefevere said, reminding everyone of just how many races Deceuninck-QuickStep have won this year by approaching racing the 'old-fashioned' way.
"Remember, too, that we're dealing here with a phenomenon called Mathieu van der Poel. In the past, a young Michal Kwiatkowski also won races in a similar way, including the world road race championships," he continued, remembering the Polish rider who rode for QuickStep for four seasons before moving to Team Sky in 2016.
"And, of course, there's also Peter Sagan [Bora-Hansgrohe] – although in recent years we've not really seen anything like what Mathieu can do," Lefevere added, suggesting that the Dutchman is in fact in a different league.
"It is different to what Kwiatkowski and Sagan could do. It's only his first spring," he said, as although Van der Poel has also ridden on the road in recent years, it's not been until at least May, and generally at smaller events.
"He's proved that he doesn't need a team. Not yet," Lefevere continued, referring to Van der Poel's recent assertion that, despite interest from what the 24-year-old said was "a few big teams", he was happy to stay with his Pro Continental-level Corendon-Circus team, who he's under contract with until 2023.
"People have always considered him a cyclo-cross rider," said Lefevere, "but they’ll look at him differently now."
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