Patrick Lefevere is on the verge of securing the future of the Quick-Step Floors team, with an announcement expected in Dusseldorf ahead of the Tour de France, according to a report in Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws on Tuesday.
Despite the reports, Lefevere said any new sponsorship deal is "not done yet" as he reacted angrily to the news on Tuesday morning.
After sarcastically thanking the Belgian newspaper and journalist Nico Dick for a 'cheap victory', he wrote: "Your news not only destroys my day, everybody starts calling me, and it's not done yet."
However everything indicates that the future of the team has been secured, though which riders will stay or leave the team remains to be seen. Lefevere's team is one of the most powerful in today's WorldTour peloton, winning over 50 races in each of the past five seasons, but their current sponsorship deals are set to expire at the end of this year.
“We have four months to pull together the money to decide the fate of the team," said Lefevere at the start of the year, setting himself the deadline of the Tour de France so as to have time to shore up his roster, with the vast majority of the current team out of contract at the end of the year.
According to Het Laatste Nieuws, flooring company Quick-Step, after pondering their long-standing investment, have committed to another four years, with bike manufacturer Specialized also on board. Supermarket chain Lidl have also reportedly extended their backing, having signed an initial two-year deal starting 2016.
There have also been question marks over the continued backing of Czech businessman and investor, Zdenek Bakala. The report suggests either he has committed to keep pouring money into the team, or Lefevere has found another sponsor.
The experienced Belgian manager was at the team's management company offices in Luxembourg on Monday for a shareholders meeting. It is possible that the team's long-term future was confirmed during the meeting. Lefevere had previously set June 30 as his deadline to confirm the future of the team.
The Quick-Step Floors team due to held its pre-Tour de France press conference on Thursday June 29 in Dusseldorf.
Quick-Step Floors have named its roster for the Tour de France, putting their hopes in sprinter Marcel Kittel, Dan Matin and Philippe Gilbert.
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