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Patrick Lefevere on rainbow jersey: ‘It’s not the jersey that’s the curse, but the receptions’

Quick-Step boss warns new world champion Remco Evenepoel not to party too much this winter ahead of pressure-cooked 2023.

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Patrick Lefevere is hoping Remco Evenepoel doesn’t hit the party circuit too much this winter after his historical 2022 season.

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl boss spoke to the Belgian media after Evenepoel received the Kristallen Fiets trophy this week as the best Belgian male rider in 2022.

“I hope he has a winter without too many receptions,” Lefevere told Belgian radio RTBF. “They always say that the world champion’s rainbow jersey is cursed. But it’s not the jersey that brings bad luck, it’s all the events at which the world champion champion must participate.”

Evenepoel made history in 2022 by winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Clásica San Sebastián, the Vuelta a España, and the road worlds.

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Belgium cycling is still flying high after Evenepoel won Belgium’s first grand tour since the 1970s and its first rainbow jersey in a decade.

Evenepoel hinted that he might race the Giro d’Italia next year instead of taking on a Tour de France debut. In what’s been a whirlwind for the Belgian rider, who also recently got married, he’s looking forward to some down time.

“For next season, the main objective will be to keep evolving and to keep making progress together with the team,” Evenepoel said. “But first it’s time for holidays, to which I’m looking forward before getting on my bike again.”

Evenepoel is the seventh rider under Lefevere’s tutelage to win the rainbow stripes since 2003, but the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl boss said Evenepoel’s meteoric rise to win Belgium’s first grand tour since 1978 and Belgium’s first world title since 2012 even caught him by surprise.

Lefevere is confident his young charge will not go overboard. Evenepoel doesn’t drink alcohol, and Lefevere called him an “ascetic” compared to ex-pro Tom Boonen, whom he described as a “rock star.”

“Remco is fine. He met the team on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night we went to dinner and he was very happy,” Lefevere said. “He finished his season and now he is married — what more do you want?”

Lefevere joked when asked if it was magical to have a rider like Evenepoel on the team:

“It’s not magic, it was I who chose him to be on the team,” he said with a laugh.