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Lefevere on Evenepoel crash: ‘I’m glad he’s still alive’

Deceuninck-Quick-Step boss reacts to second major crash involving one of his riders in under two weeks.

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Deceuninck-Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere doesn’t care about his carefully laid-out rider schedules right now, only that Remco Evenepoel is still alive.

The Belgian superstar’s dramatic crash and long fall at Saturday’s Il Lombardia left the youngster with a fractured pelvis and list of other injuries. However, having slammed into a low wall on the treacherous descent off the Sormano climb and fallen nearly 10 meters into a ravine, the 20-year-old could have come off a lot worse.

“What happens to his season? I don’t care, I really don’t,” Lefevere said. “I’m glad he’s still alive.”

Although medical assistance was on close hand at the Italian race Saturday, it took several minutes before confirmation that Evenepoel was conscious, and significant time for the youngster to be stretchered out of the gorge. The incident comes less than two weeks after the high-speed crash at Tour of Poland that left Deceuninck-Quick-Step sprinter Fabio Jakobsen hospitalized with serious injuries.

“We crawled through a small hole for the second time in 10 days,” Lefevere told Sporza on Saturday night. “When you watch that somersault live, you immediately think: what now?”

Lefevere went to visit his young star where he was being treated at Sant’Anna hospital, Como, last night.

“The first thing Remco said was ‘sorry,'” Lefevere said. “He’s in a bit of shock – of course, that’s normal. But all in all, it’s going well. He handles it in his way. ‘I would have won,’ he said also. But that’s not important now. It’s that we can still laugh about it now.”

Earlier this month, Lefevere led angry calls across the peloton after the high-speed downhill sprint in Katowice led to a mass pile-up at Tour of Poland. The veteran manager questioned the safety of the Sormano descent Saturday.

“I have been against the union and the organization several times, saying that these kinds of descents are not possible, but nothing will change,” Lefevere said Saturday night. “I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. Crudely speaking, we could have had two deaths in a week with Fabio Jakobsen and Remco. You may think that winning and racing is important. But when you see your riders flying into a ravine, you don’t think about it anymore.”

The precipitous Sormano road has seen many incidents, most recently in 2017 when Simone Petilli, Jan Bakelants, and Daniel Martinez all crashed on the descent. Laurens de Plus, that year riding for Quick-Step-Floors, also fell into a ravine having tumbled over a low wall on the same descent in what proved an eerie premonition of Evenepoel’s crash Saturday.

Evenepoel will remain in hospital under observation Sunday before being transferred to Belgium.