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Soudal - Quick Step Thread

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I see on Twitter (Domestique account is reporting) that Tim Merlier have said to RTBF that he wants to go to the Tour together with Bert van Lerberghe and that the two of them are ready to work for Remco on the stages where Merlier wont sprint. He specifially mention the gravel stage as a stage where they can be very useful.

How would a potential QS team look like with Remco and Merlier?
I struggle to find space for both Lampaert and Van Lerberghe.

Remco
Landa
Van Wilder
Asgreen
Alaphilippe?
Cattaneo/Vervaeke/Hirt?
Merlier
Van Lerberghe / Lampaert ?

I think Merlier in the Tour would make sense if Remco goes Giro GC and then to the Tour to see how it goes, but if Remco goes all in on the Tour like he's been indicating I think it would be better to send Merlier to the Giro.
Don't see why you would bring both Landa and Van Wilder, let Ilan go for Giro GC if Remco ain't going. Furthermore if Tim does a Tim and wins a stage early on in the Tour it will atleast take some pressure of Remoc.
 
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Tbh they are entering the 6th consecutive season with that rider on the roster and they hardly seem to have made significant inroads in making their team a legit threat to be more than a 2nd tier team for the TdF in that period.

Lidl Trek has made imo more structural improvements and changes that could lead them to be a dominant team just in this transfer market.
It's easier to make more structural improvements and changes when you have a significant budget increase, which I suppose will be the case for Lidl Trek now.
 
It's easier to make more structural improvements and changes when you have a significant budget increase, which I suppose will be the case for Lidl Trek now.

Supposedly QS budget also increased when Soudal came on board, as in the previous seasons their naming sponsors were Quick Step and Alpha Vinyl (a Quick Step product).

Back then Lefevere was quoted saying that “For sure the budget will increase but all the guys have agents and want more money, then there’s the Belgian minister who wants more for social security payments. After we’ve paid this we’ll see what remains to invest in the team.” This was said after they were apparently in the process of renewing Lampaert with a bigger wage for 2023, which is for me a tell tale sign of a wrong step if they wanted to build a stronger core around Remco.
 
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QS will make the mistake too many teams make by putting all their eggs in one basket - When will teams learn?
But the moment Remco fails or crashes out QuickStep will have quality to win stages in break (Asgreen, Alaphilippe) and they have Landa that will be able to go for stages/KOM or even GC depending on when Remco crashes out in that case. If Remco only fails in terms of GC and loses a lot of time he can still win stages like in the Vuelta.

If QuickStep doesn’t bring a sprinter and are going all in for Remco and then Remco crashes out on stage 1 they will still be in a lot better position than Movistar and EF for example this year when Mas and Carapaz crashed out.
 
Except, Remco is not at their level yet - Unless you have a Vingegaard or Pogacar type then you bring a balanced team to cover all contingecies.
What does that have to do with anything? SQS doesn’t expect Remco to be at their level. If he finishes top 5 they will be happy. Like Eddy Evenepoel said, there isn’t a scenario where they will think oh no we should’ve brought Merlier instead of going all in on Remco
 
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What does that have to do with anything? SQS doesn’t expect Remco to be at their level. If he finishes top 5 they will be happy. Like Eddy Evenepoel said, there isn’t a scenario where they will think oh no we should’ve brought Merlier instead of going all in on Remco
Doesnt seem very ambitious.

Expect him to win easily if preparation, health, support, equipment, weather and love is all there for him to succeed. Piece of cake. He just has to show up.
 
What does that have to do with anything? SQS doesn’t expect Remco to be at their level. If he finishes top 5 they will be happy. Like Eddy Evenepoel said, there isn’t a scenario where they will think oh no we should’ve brought Merlier instead of going all in on Remco

You can do both - All Remco needs is two decent climbers give Merlier one rider and three versatile riders - That will do the job.
 
Van Aert won green and UAE with all due respect to the riders on their team did not have a sprinter capable of winning stages under normal circumstances in the Tour.
It should be noted that Kristoff won a sprint for UAE in the first Tour Pogacar won. And Evenepoel likely enters the 2024 Tour with similar odds of winning/fighting for the win as Pogacar did back then. Really, if you have a <50% chance of being in the battle for the win, you don't need 7 support riders.

The real issue is not going for secondary objectives in combination with Evenepoel's GC bid, it's Merlier being ill-suited to the secondary objective role. He isn't the kind of sprinter who freelances particularly well and would therefore need at least two leadout riders, at which point the argument that Evenepoel's support is being hurt becomes much stronger because none of them are going to be able to help Evenepoel much. In addition, at 31, he has never rode a GT in which he both reached the second half of the race and won a stage, so it's rather questionable how much you're going to get out of the slots he and his support would take up.

And this is also where you see that Merlier's career planning has been godawful with regards to getting to start the Tour. Stayed at Alpecin too long and was sidelined in favour of Philipsen as a result, then rather than going to a bottom-two-thirds-of-the-WT team that would have happily sent him to the Tour, he went for the allure of Belgium's biggest-name team at a time when they started to build completely around Evenepoel. If he's actually surprised that he isn't getting to do the Tour for Soudal, he only has himself to blame, and in that light his comments in the media are rather silly. With two more years on his contract, the second Tour start of his career is unlikely to come before age 33 (and much closer to 34 than 32 at that). If that isn't a sign you're wasting your prime as a sprinter, I don't know what is. He really should have thought this whole thing through better. And, to be fair, so should Soudal - IMO they would have been much better off spending the money on reinforcing their ailing classics squad than on a big-name sprinter who they have never used and don't look like ever using for a single of their main objectives.
 
It should be noted that Kristoff won a sprint for UAE in the first Tour Pogacar won. And Evenepoel likely enters the 2024 Tour with similar odds of winning/fighting for the win as Pogacar did back then. Really, if you have a <50% chance of being in the battle for the win, you don't need 7 support riders.

The real issue is not going for secondary objectives in combination with Evenepoel's GC bid, it's Merlier being ill-suited to the secondary objective role. He isn't the kind of sprinter who freelances particularly well and would therefore need at least two leadout riders, at which point the argument that Evenepoel's support is being hurt becomes much stronger because none of them are going to be able to help Evenepoel much. In addition, at 31, he has never rode a GT in which he both reached the second half of the race and won a stage, so it's rather questionable how much you're going to get out of the slots he and his support would take up.

And this is also where you see that Merlier's career planning has been godawful with regards to getting to start the Tour. Stayed at Alpecin too long and was sidelined in favour of Philipsen as a result, then rather than going to a bottom-two-thirds-of-the-WT team that would have happily sent him to the Tour, he went for the allure of Belgium's biggest-name team at a time when they started to build completely around Evenepoel. If he's actually surprised that he isn't getting to do the Tour for Soudal, he only has himself to blame, and in that light his comments in the media are rather silly. With two more years on his contract, the second Tour start of his career is unlikely to come before age 33 (and much closer to 34 than 32 at that). If that isn't a sign you're wasting your prime as a sprinter, I don't know what is. He really should have thought this whole thing through better. And, to be fair, so should Soudal - IMO they would have been much better off spending the money on reinforcing their ailing classics squad than on a big-name sprinter who they have never used and don't look like ever using for a single of their main objectives.
It didn’t even need hindsight to understand that as even at the time it felt like Lefevre picked up Merlier because he could attract him and not because it was a sensible allocation of resources.
 
It didn’t even need hindsight to understand that as even at the time it felt like Lefevre picked up Merlier because he could attract him and not because it was a sensible allocation of resources.
Merlier serves a good purpose though for the team. He will pick up wins here and there. Stages and a couple of semi-classics each season. It was a smart and good signing.

40% of SQS wins last season came from Merlier and Evenepoel.