Patrick Lefevere: Bora-hansgrohe wants to buy Deceuninck-Quick-Step
Bora-hansgrohe founder Willi Bruckbauer is a fan of Remco Evenepoel and even wants to go so far as to buy up Deceuninck-Quick-Step to have the young Belgian in his team, Patrick Lefevere revealed.
Lefevere announced last month that 26 riders in his team are at the end of their contract. Only Yves Lampaert, Mauri Vansevenant, Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel have options to sign up until 2024. According to the team manager many other teams are looking to sign his riders.
“The self-proclaimed king of the hunt is Ralph Denk of Bora-hansgrohe. He sends my riders contract proposals directly, on official team stationery. Legal? Maybe just, but it is beyond the moral case.”
Lefevere talks of a meeting with Denk in a 4-star hotel in Brussels in January, where the German asked for the price to take over Deceuninck-Quick-Step.
“He explained that Willi Bruckbauer, the boss of BORA, wanted to bring in Remco. The shortest route was apparently to buy the entire team. It was serious, because he also wanted to know what role I still saw myself playing in that organisation. As they say: you are free to ask, so I have calmly explained the context.”
Lefevere told Denk that Deceuninck-Quick-Step is 70% owned by Zdeněk Bakala, so that he has the deciding vote in a takeover.
“Moreover, it is my ambition to continue with the team myself and I talk about this with my sponsors. The deadline I still have in mind today to get that done is March 31. I think I said: if I fail, then you will be the first to hear. Turns out that patience is not Mr. Denk’s greatest virtue.”
The following month, Lefevere received a phone call to ask if he had already thought about the proposal.
“And in the meantime he is on plan B with individual contract proposals for Remco and co. Maybe that’s all normal in his world.”