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Lefevere and Adams, the multi-millionaire Canadian backing the Israeli team, nearly came to a deal in 2018 when the tycoon was looking to increase the profile of the pro continental team then known as Israel Cycling Academy.
“I was looking for a sponsor, he wanted to make the step to the World Tour,” Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad this weekend.
“We were very close to a deal – not to say it was as good as done. There was an agreement on the amount of the takeover, on the bicycle sponsor, on the riders and the team management. I myself could stay on board for at least three more years.”
Lefevere’s squad raced through 2018 as Quick-Step Floors. It was only when Belgian PVC home systems manufacturer Deceuninck showed interest in backing the team that Lefevere moved away from a buyout deal with Adams.
“I got to know Adams as a very ambitious man, with the financial scope to make his plans come true,” Lefevere said. “He wants to get to the top of cycling as quickly as possible. With the financial scope to make his plans come true.”
Recent reports have linked Chris Froome to Adams’ team following rumors that the grand tour star was looking to leave Team Ineos. With Froome commanding a pay packet thought to be around €4.5m / $4.9m, only a team with the biggest of bank balances will be in with a shot at earning Froome’s signature.
Lefevere wouldn’t rule out the possibility of seeing Froome in an Israel Start-Up Nation jersey in the future, saying “I don’t have any inside information, but I’m sure the Israeli pockets are deep enough to complete that transition.”
While Adams may or may not be looking to sign Froome, Lefevere made his thoughts on the four-time Tour de France winner clear.
“I’m not going to speak for anyone else here, but personally I wouldn’t invest in a project around Froome,” he said. “I have respect for his record, but will he still win the Tour at the age of 35? I consider it to be an investment that is not worth it.”