And rightly so. No team packs this much intrigue since Movistar let a Netflix crew inside its team bus in 2019.
Will team boss Lefevere leave Mark Cavendish at home in favor of Fabio Jakobsen?
Will Remco Evenepoel remain on the sidelines for another season before making his Tour debut?
Will Julian Alaphilippe be ready in time to make the Tour roster?
Those three threads alone have produced more copy in the past few months than most WorldTour squads earn in a season.
- Lefevere on the classics: ‘We let our pedals do the talking’
- Storylines we want to see in the Netflix series
- Quick-Step DS: Cavendish ‘blew his chance’ on Merckx record
Lefevere is the master media operator, and he’s been quietly stoking this media speculation overload with pointed comments here and a well-timed column there. The Belgian doyenne knows how to keep his team in the headlines.
The narrative is unfolding with more plot twists than a Brazilian soap opera.
In the coming weeks, the speculation train will only hit warp speed about who will make Tour roster for the Belgian cobble bashers.
Despite what other grand tour organizers might want everyone to believe, it’s the Tour de France that makes the cycling world turn. And every pro wants to be in cycling’s big show.
So even if Cavendish demures about the Tour and the Merckx record, or Evenepoel delivers a few toss-away lines about he’ll do whatever the team wants him to do, don’t believe it for a minute.
Both of them want to be at the start line in Copenhagen. They’re winners, they’re champions, they’re passionate about racing, and both are wildly ambitious.
The Tour is the big show, and no one wants to miss it.
Some steady hands will caution, “Well, Evenepoel is still young, let him race the Vuelta a España before going to the pressure-cooker of the Tour.”
Others will point out that Jakobsen is younger, perhaps faster, and has a contract for 2023 with the team, so of course he should be tapped for the Tour ahead of Cavendish.
“Cav or Fabio to the Tour? The best will go…”
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl boss Patrick Lefevere refuses to confirm Fabio Jakobsen’s claim to the team’s sprinter spot for the Tour de France after Cav’s impressive UAE Tour winhttps://t.co/Gfa3jC7eMI #cycling pic.twitter.com/7Vi8JpaXsL
— road.cc (@roadcc) February 22, 2022
One has to wonder if Lefevere has been gleefully conjuring up all this media speculation only to spring an even bigger surprise on everyone — take them all.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Lefevere did just that?
Why leave Cavendish at home? Why not bring Evenepoel? I say Lefevere should bring everyone to the 2022 Tour to create cycling’s ultimate “Dream Team.”
Lefevere is the savviest of cycling’s players, and with Netflix bringing its global heft and exposure to the 2022 Tour, he could deliver the biggest and most fascinating inside-the-bus drama in cycling history.
If cycling wants to compete with Formula 1 or the fascinating Michael Jordan documentary, Lefevere has a unique opportunity to put his team and his oversized personalities on intimate display.
Imagine the intrigue and fly-on-the-wall drama of Cavendish and Jakobsen fighting for supremacy in the sprints?
It would be fascinating viewing to see how the two sprinters would arm wrestle for leadership, and try to woo and coddle the services of cycling’s ultimate leadout man Michael Mørkøv.
Alaphilippe is always a crowd-pleaser, whether he’s winning, crashing, or celebrating too soon. The flamboyant Frenchman is a natural showman and could emerge as a breakout media star with his emotion and antics.
And then there’s Evenepoel, whose ego is growing just as fast as his palmarès. He’s a budding superstar at the dawn of his career, and just imagine watching him arrive at the Tour with visions of the yellow jersey grandeur only to see them squashed by the cruel dream-crusher that is named Tadej Pogačar.
Bring along Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert, and Tim Declercq to plow across the flats, and you have one hell of a roster.
And it wouldn’t be all disfunction and chaos. Cavendish and Jakobsen could swap on a sprint duties, depending on the stage. The team could shred the cobbles in stage 5, setting up Asgreen for victory.
And Evenepoel and Alaphilippe, already fast friends off the bike, could perhaps throw a wrench into the Slovenian/Ineos playbook with some swashbuckling tactics.
Lefevere is cycling’s biggest carnival barker, and with the Netflix crew ready to film it all, let’s hope he throws caution to the wind and delivers cycling’s ultimate “Dream Team” to the 2022 Tour.
Since Lefevere doesn’t have a GC man on his roster, he could easily pack all these egos, ambitions, and personalities into the Quick-Step bus.
Why not? Lefevere has absolutely nothing to lose, and everything to gain, not only in the publicity and hype that would surround a three-week circus at the Tour, but likely some big wins along the way as well.
It would make “El Día Menos Pensado” seem like rated-PG fare in comparison.