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Deceuninck-Quick-Step has an enviable track record of success — 65 wins in 2021 alone — with a stable of talent that seems to never run dry. That’s no accident. Behind the talented riders, a hardworking staff keeps the “Wolfpack” humming along year after year. Among them is a man who’s always in the background but integral to the team’s success: technical and development director Ricardo Scheidecker.
He fell in love with the bike at age 12 growing up in Portugal. After racing, working as a mechanic, and then a stint away from cycling in marketing roles, he eventually landed a job with the UCI before beginning to work for pro cycling teams. Most recently he worked with Deceuninck-Quick-Step where he has been for the last five years.
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So what does the technical and development director do? At its most basic, Ricardo describes his role as a “sports manager.” But there are a lot of responsibilities that go with that role, including developing the race strategies that lead to so much success for the team. “There’s no race we start without a plan to fight for victory,” he said.
He also discusses the much-talked-about “Wolfpack mentality” of Deceuninck-Quick-Step, the ethos he describes as “It’s the team victory that counts; it’s not the individual victory that counts.” It’s something that riders absorb from the moment they arrive at the team.
The discussion also turns to Mark Cavendish’s return to the team this past season, which turned out beyond anyone’s wildest expectations to say the least, with four stage wins at the Tour de France among 10 total wins for the season. What were the team’s plans and expectations for him heading into the season?
And Cavendish is only one of many in a long list of success stories with the team. How does the team find and develop a constant stream of young talent? “We try to be under the radar as much as possible,” Ricardo says of the process. But in many cases, the team’s reputation does the talking.
Listen to the latest episode of Bobby & Jens for the full conversation.
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast brought to you by Zwift. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.