Lefevere: It's not easy trying to keep everyone with this budget
Patrick Lefevere addressed the tough situation he faces as a general manager working to confirm funding for 2018, telling Sporza that "nothing has been signed" in response to questions about the future of the Quick-Step Floors team.
Lefevere is in the process of nailing down the details to keep the team afloat for the coming seasons. He is rumoured to have secured funding from Quick-Step, Lidl, Specialized and other current sponsors. However, he has so far failed to confirm that a new sponsor will come on board.
Lefevere only said that things were "going in the right direction."
With the team's security still up in the air, trying to keep all the talented riders on the team roster for next year is proving to be a challenge.
"Our budget is not increasing, and I must try to keep everyone. It's not easy," Lefevere admitted.
Sprinter Marcel Kittel, who has won five stages at the 2017 Tour de France, is one of the many stars Quick-Step Floors is hoping to hold onto despite the German sprinter being targeted by numeorus other teams and especially Katusha-Alpecin. Philippe Gilbert has reportedly signed a new contract.
Lefevere told Sporza that Kittel is waiting until after the Tour de France reaches its conclusion in Paris to sit down and talk contracts.
LottoNL-Jumbo adds sport nutrition company as sponsor
The LottoNL-Jumbo team announced during Monday's Tour de France rest day that sport nutrition brand Vifit Sport will be a sponsor for the team for the next three years. The new company's logo will appear on the team's jersey. Vifit Sport is owned by FrieslandCampina dairy co-operative, which "intends to extend and intensify the partnership in the near future," according to the team's press release. Vifit Sport offers recovery drinks, shakes and bars.
"Based on our knowledge about the nutritional value of dairy for the build-up and recovery of the muscles, we have developed a sports nutrition line, Vifit Sport, that responds to the needs of active sportspeople. We are proud of the partnership with Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, which performs at the highest level in bicycle racing. The riders show that good nutrition is crucial for turning in a top performance," said Royal FrieslandCampina N.V. Roelof Joosten.
Team director Richard Plugge said the new deal creates an innovative partnership for the team.
"Together with Vifit Sport we will build an online community where we share our mutual passion for sports and where we can share the development of the athletes," Plugge said. "This innovative partnership creates a connection with the fans of Team LottoNL-Jumbo and meets the needs of the users of Vifit Sports."
The parent company "is fully owned by Zuivelcooperatije FrieslandCampina U.A., with 18,900 member dairy farmers in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium," making it one of the world's largest dairy cooperatives.
Team Sunweb re-signs ten Dam, Oomen, Andersen and auto sponsor
Team Sunweb have extended contracts with veteran climber Laurens ten Dam and young riders Sam Oomen and Soren Kragh Andersen. In addition, the German-licensed team will continue its agreement with Mini Cars for another two years.
Ten Dam, 36, was part of the team's successful Giro d'Italia and Tour de France squads this year. He said that he had planned to retire after this season, but "since it's going so well and I am still enjoying it so much we decided to postpone my retirement for another year."
Andersen, 22, extended his contract for three more years, through 2020. This season he has won a stage at the Tour of Oman and has brought in numerous top ten finishes.
Oomen, also a second-year pro, added two years to his contract and so will also stay through 2020. Both are currently in altitude training with Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin, who earlier extended his contract with the team through 2021.
Team Sunweb will also continue to use the Mini Cooper cars as team cars in races, through 2019.
Spilak extends with Katusha-Alpecin
Simon Spilak has signed a contract extension with Katusha-Alpecin to stay on with the squad for a further two years through the 2019 season, according to a team press release.
The 31-year-old Slovenian has spent six years with the team, establishing himself as one of the sport's top one-week stage racing specialists. He is the defending champion at the Tour de Suisse, a race he also won in 2015, and has won the Tour de Romandie as well, along with finishing as runner-up there three times.
"I'm very happy to re-sign with Team Katusha-Alpecin," he said via the team release. "I'm feeling very well here and I like how the team works. Furthermore, the staff, managers and teammates are just great and we function as a big family. Therefore, I'm looking forward to the next two years and the achievements to come for me personally and especially for the team."
Katusha general manager José Azevedo highlighted Spilak's prowess in the short stage races as well, and noted that they would remain his main objective moving forward.
"He definitely belongs in the group of the best riders in the world for one-week stage races," Azevedo said. "His focus will continue to be on this kind of race, and we hope he can achieve more victories in the future for the team."