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The Patrick Lefevere Depreciation Thread

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About Cavendish:

"He's now starting to talk to me about his image. He says: 'with my image I am worth so much'. I say: 'your image in London is different from your image in West Flanders, with all due respect'. None of my West-Flemish sponsors are going to make amends to pay Mark Cavendish a higher wage for his image."

"But should I take the risk of sacrificing someone who might be faster than Mark? For a record which is essentially of no use to us as a team. And then, if he breaks the record, he might ask me for a bonus too."

"Then it starts: what are we going to do with him? Many riders become performance coaches based on their experience, but training is also needed. He also wants to walk next to me, learn the trade, be a PR man. I say: You're out of luck, I signed with my main sponsors until 2027, what are you going to teach me?"

How Mark dares to ask for more money based on his results? It's unbelievable. Someone goes to the Tour, that meaningless race for a West Flanders sponsor, wins 4 stages, the green jersey, ties himself with Merckx and then has the audacity to ask for more money!

And what could he teach old grumpy about PR, if he even managed to secure sponsors until 2027 with only the biggest belgian talent to offer.


As someone who supports Cavendish, this makes for slightly uncomfortable reading, however; as someone who ran several two and four-wheeled international racing series (Not Cycling) on behalf of a rights holder. I think much of what he says is correct and makes sense for his business model, I wonder how much sponsorship funding his way of doing things has lost him?! Love him or hate him, he knows his business if we had a few more like him the peloton would be a more secure place for many.
 
he didn’t say he threatened to cut his salary; He made it clear that JA is under more scrutiny if not performing, because he has a high salary, and in that context he asked him if he was still motivated as he understands riders can get mentally tired sticking in a team so long.

Did you ever have to interprete a text in school?

So what does this "scrutiny" mean, which effect shall it have, if not a talk about his wages, which, like I said, doesn't make sense with a contract for 2024, if it's not about an early exit? It says it's about money in the very passage here:
If it wasn't his (feel of) honor being touched, it would be his wallet. If you get paid like Julian, it's to perform."
And without money being in the game it also doesn't make too much sense to have a talk with his manager present. I am repeating myself here over and over.

And it's definitely not just a concerned, fatherly person, like "oh, are you still motivated, I could understand if you are not anymore", again, if the manager is present. It's also simply not what all these sentences say. They say: You are paid too high for bad performances - while there is nothing in Ala's performances in the past two years which showed a lack of motivation or work.
 
Did you ever have to interprete a text in school?

So what does this "scrutiny" mean, which effect shall it have, if not a talk about his wages, which, like I said, doesn't make sense with a contract for 2024, if it's not about an early exit? It says it's about money in the very passage here:
If it wasn't his (feel of) honor being touched, it would be his wallet. If you get paid like Julian, it's to perform."
And without money being in the game it also doesn't make too much sense to have a talk with his manager present. I am repeating myself here over and over.

And it's definitely not just a concerned, fatherly person, like "oh, are you still motivated, I could understand if you are not anymore", again, if the manager is present. It's also simply not what all these sentences say. They say: You are paid too high for bad performances - while there is nothing in Ala's performances in the past two years which showed a lack of motivation or work.
The scrutiny is obvious, no? The higher the payment, the higher the scrutiny / the harder the evalution.

There is always money in the game: JA has a contract until 2024, but PL can decide on his racing programme and thereby maybe even his potential bonuses (if JA isn't a team leader in e.g. big one-day races, he won't get any big bonus for winning those races as his chances will be reduced severely). And JA needs another contract after 2024. PL indicated that JA can, in his view, be a rider like Stybar (staying almost forever with the team), but he also reminds him that, in order to stay in the team, he either has to keep the same level of ambition, or he has to live with a reduced salary. The early contract agreements beyond 2024 are made in spring 2024, that's just a bit over 1 year from now, not that long.

It's a wake up call, and I honestly didn't see anything disrespectful in the interview. PL clearly said he was the first in row in the team to love JA: they have a (professional) relationship of 13 years after all. I believe that JA would have a much bigger chance than e.g. Mark Cavendish to get a (PR) job within the team after his career as PL (and the whole team) likes Alaphilippe, but that's the whole thing: when you have such a pleasant relationship personally, you shouldn't forget that you still need to perform.
If PL doesn't scrutinize JA just because he likes him, other riders (and the press and sponsors) won't accept this kind of privileged treatment of one rider. The team is all about camaraderie, but only if you are able to deliver. If not, there are plenty of other teams where you aren't scrutinized that much, and coincidentally, those teams don't win that much either.
 
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Because there is a team presentation and Belgian national TV asks him about JA and Asgreen and if they are going to underperform again?
Yeah, I'm not exacty a fan of Lefevere's antics and how he handles things publicly, but if he gets explicity asked about something he responds. Then some websites generate clickbait headlines. Many of Remco's "arrogant" statements are actually the same if you read the whole interview. They directly ask him about something and afterwards it gets taken out of context and used as a clickbait headline.
 
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Yeah, I'm not exacty a fan of Lefevere's antics and how he handles things publicly, but if he gets explicity asked about something he responds. Then some websites generate clickbait headlines. Many of Remco's "arrogant" statements are actually the same if you read the whole interview. They directly ask him about something and afterwards it gets taken out of context and used as a clickbait headline.

But he could just have answered something along the lines of "Neither we or Alaphilippe were pleased with his performances last year, but he is a big champion and I'm sure he'll soon return to his best level".

Of course PL couldn't really say that now, since he had already complained about JA's performances after the 2021 season (or at least pointed out that JA was paid to achieve result for QS and not for France).
 
The scrutiny is obvious, no? The higher the payment, the higher the scrutiny / the harder the evalution.

There is always money in the game: JA has a contract until 2024, but PL can decide on his racing programme and thereby maybe even his potential bonuses (if JA isn't a team leader in e.g. big one-day races, he won't get any big bonus for winning those races as his chances will be reduced severely). And JA needs another contract after 2024. PL indicated that JA can, in his view, be a rider like Stybar (staying almost forever with the team), but he also reminds him that, in order to stay in the team, he either has to keep the same level of ambition, or he has to live with a reduced salary. The early contract agreements beyond 2024 are made in spring 2024, that's just a bit over 1 year from now, not that long.

It's a wake up call, and I honestly didn't see anything disrespectful in the interview. PL clearly said he was the first in row in the team to love JA: they have a (professional) relationship of 13 years after all. I believe that JA would have a much bigger chance than e.g. Mark Cavendish to get a (PR) job within the team after his career as PL (and the whole team) likes Alaphilippe, but that's the whole thing: when you have such a pleasant relationship personally, you shouldn't forget that you still need to perform.
If PL doesn't scrutinize JA just because he likes him, other riders (and the press and sponsors) won't accept this kind of privileged treatment of one rider. The team is all about camaraderie, but only if you are able to deliver. If not, there are plenty of other teams where you aren't scrutinized that much, and coincidentally, those teams don't win that much either.

We are going in circles.
 
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We are going in circles because what you perceive as relatively blunt / agressive talk by PL, is actually a lot softer and not black/white as the English / French press tries to serve to their audience.
Even JA was probably caught off-guard when French journalists asked him about PL's statements, and that's mainly because they got lost in translation so even JA was presented with something that PL probably didn't say as such. Direct talks (PL - JA) will have solved all of this and the 2nd reaction by JA proves this: he is much less defensive and talks much more along the same line as PL made his statemens: yes, 2022 was bad, yes 2023 should be better, yes the motivation is still there...

Just take everything the non-Flemish spoken press says about PL with a grain of salt and just suppose the translation is not very good, until you read it here...
And rest be assured I'm not (and most here are not) PL fanboys. It's just that a lot about what he says is not something that anyone should be upset about.

He still says enough that people (rightfully) can be upset about, let's concentrate on those things.
 
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If you don't try to read it in between the lines. Then what Lefevere is saying is i love you Alaphilippe but i love Evenepoel more. So can we please discuss and negotiate new terms for the alimony. For now i feel that Alaphilippe made the right call. Saying no. On why we are drawn to it. To discuss. It's Shakira and Pique all over again. People tend to be drawn to drama. Still there is a deeper issue involved and not just drama in this particular case. Affecting the Alaphilippe future.

Alaphilippe said he doesn't feel any additional pressure. Moreover is much more relax entering the 2023 season. Then he was in the past couple of seasons. So both of the protagonists will i guest try to do their best. And at the end of the season to evaluate. Who got the love. And what the next steps are.
 
It is also possible that he is doing a clickbait. To generate more attention, create your own drama wher u control all the pieces, of course taking ur rider into confidence first. I am reminded of the WWE entry of a new wreslter. Be a villain first, get known and then transform into a heroic figure. I am sure that when Ala wins, he will say i had full confidence that he will win.
 
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Alaphilippe doesn't get payed to mess up his racing program and constantly crash out of unawareness. Lefevere phrases it famously grumpy and unemphatic, but I fear this time around he's got a point.

?? Unawareness? Did you watch the scenes? And what do you mean by mess up his racing program?? It was a logical program shaped by his abilities and his crashes (and illnesses).
 
I don't care what anybody says, be it spoken in Flemish or Eskimoan, PL goes out of his way to be crass, has a total disregard for diplomacy and instigates controversy whenever given the chance. The general public doesn't need to know about his current misgivings over what JA gets paid. That's something that should only be discussed privately between the two parties involved. Besides PL's the one who offered him a multi-year deal at a champion's salary, because at the time JA was arguably the most exciting racer to watch in the world, whose results demanded such a lucrative contract. Well you can't rescind on the bargain when things go awry, as they frequently do in cycling, and not according to the meticulously organized plan. Cycling is simply a risky business, as bad luck or poor judgment can lead to season compromising crashes, which is a variable that unfortunately can't be controlled, let alone entirely avoided. Yet if you want to play the game, you have to accept the potential risks involved. By contrast, talking negatively about a rider who suffered major trauma through crashing (not forgetting cycling falls can be fatal), then illness struck, and airing your frustration to the press over his salary when fortune has taken a bad turn, only demonstrates you can't handle the intrinsic perils involved in signing riders in such a sport. This is a far cry, however, from claiming he told a regretful and apologizing Evenepoel after the Lombardia setback to "shut up, you are alive and that's all that counts right now."

At fault or not, JA had his season ruined with what was assuredly an excruciatingly painful aftermath to the fall at Liege. And I'm certain JA was the first to feel horrible about not being able to perform, instead having to reset after a lengthy rehabilitation, chase form again, only to see all hope of salvaging his 2022 campaign dashed in vein with another crash at the Vuelta. Imagine if Richard Plugge at Jumbo-Visma had made similar statements to the press about Roglic after his falls at the Tour and Vuelta? How would that have gone over? Evidently Plugge doesn't possess the famous cojones Lefebvre boasts of having or perhaps the Dutchman simply has more tact.

All PL had to say when asked about JA's lack of results last year was something to this effect: "He had a rough season and we both agreed he needs to move on, focus on getting back to his highest level, with the performances and results this presupposes, and finish out his contract as each of us auspiciously envisions." No controversy, no patronizing. Sure, it may not be exactly or even remotely how he feels, however, it's what respect for someone's trials and tribulations and simple diplomacy demands. Instead, PL choses to live figuratively according to the expression of "when you've got a man down, kick him." To what advantage, however? To pay him less in the future? To persuade him to find a new team? Why else bring up having speculated about your rider's purely hypothetical tiredness with the team environment? Tough love to motivate him? Whatever the reason, he evidently just can't behave otherwise. Yet somehow he has a loyal team and staff, still willing to give their all for him nonetheless. Well, he must truly be a remarkable man.
 
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If Anything, I believe Lefevere is being a balls buster on Ala. I mean - how can a rider control crashes or illness? and when injured or sick, how soon is a rider expected to fully recover, according to Lefevere's "standards"?

Ala has given Lefevere & his team quite remarkable victories, so for him to say Ala should be riding at peak due to his salary-even when he's injured or sick, it's truly an stretch & reflection of his personal greed above the welfare & health of the riders
 
Alaphilippe doesn't get payed to mess up his racing program and constantly crash out of unawareness. Lefevere phrases it famously grumpy and unemphatic, but I fear this time around he's got a point.

I love Alaf, he's my top 2-3 favorite one day riders...but he's frustrating -- so many avoidable (not all) crashes, sloppy sprints, futile attacks...I'm sure PL feels exactly the same way. So, yeah, I'm with you.

It's not even really a question of motivation or training -- Alaf is almost always in good shape and excited to race (he rarely is pack fill), but I think he needs to calm down a bit, take a step back and decide what he wants to do with the next 3 years of his career. Maybe he already has.
 
I love Alaf, he's my top 2-3 favorite one day riders...but he's frustrating -- so many avoidable (not all) crashes, sloppy sprints, futile attacks...I'm sure PL feels exactly the same way. So, yeah, I'm with you.

It's not even really a question of motivation or training -- Alaf is almost always in good shape and excited to race (he rarely is pack fill), but I think he needs to calm down a bit, take a step back and decide what he wants to do with the next 3 years of his career. Maybe he already has.
Agreed, but his buccaneer, swashbuckling style, a D'Artagnan on two wheels, is precisely what makes Ala so compelling when he puts on one of his shows. Sure, the flip side of course is that he can be wreckless to his own peril. Yet the brio he puts into his successes at the Tour, at Imola, at Leuven, just to name a few, more than compensate the mishaps and justify his earnings imho. It seems to me Lefebvre is just aggravated that, with the new golden boy in Evenepoel, he'd rather be spending Ala's salary on climbing talent to support Remco at the Tour and has vilely used the media to vent his frustration with cheep jabs and gratuitous ingratitude. I don't question feeling the frustration, but can't applaud the way he basically trashes one publicly he claims to love. Or if you're going to speak openly, then at least say what you really mean, such as: "I wish I hadn't spent all this on Ala, because I'd really like that cash now to invest in our career ambitions for Remco." Come on, Patrick, that's the kind of cojones I want from you. Instead he cynically avoids incriminating himself for how the money was spent to put the blame on another's misfortunes.
 
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The general public doesn't need to know about his current misgivings over what JA gets paid.
Is it because it's Alaphilippe that this suddenly is discussed? PL has been complaining about having to pay salaries for the last 30 years...

That's something that should only be discussed privately between the two parties involved. Besides PL's the one who offered him a multi-year deal at a champion's salary, because at the time JA was arguably the most exciting racer to watch in the world, whose results demanded such a lucrative contract. Well you can't rescind on the bargain when things go awry, as they frequently do in cycling, and not according to the meticulously organized plan. Cycling is simply a risky business, as bad luck or poor judgment can lead to season compromising crashes, which is a variable that unfortunately can't be controlled, let alone entirely avoided. Yet if you want to play the game, you have to accept the potential risks involved.
Alaphilippe was already underperforming before his crash. Why do you assume this has anything to do with Alaphilippe crashing?

By contrast, talking negatively about a rider who suffered major trauma through crashing (not forgetting cycling falls can be fatal), then illness struck, and airing your frustration to the press over his salary when fortune has taken a bad turn, only demonstrates you can't handle the intrinsic perils involved in signing riders in such a sport. This is a far cry, however, from claiming he told a regretful and apologizing Evenepoel after the Lombardia setback to "shut up, you are alive and that's all that counts right now."
It's a bit lame to compare it to the Evenepoel situation and quote PL just after Evenepoel made a life-threatening crash.

At fault or not, JA had his season ruined with what was assuredly an excruciatingly painful aftermath to the fall at Liege. And I'm certain JA was the first to feel horrible about not being able to perform, instead having to reset after a lengthy rehabilitation, chase form again, only to see all hope of salvaging his 2022 campaign dashed in vein with another crash at the Vuelta. Imagine if Richard Plugge at Jumbo-Visma had made similar statements to the press about Roglic after his falls at the Tour and Vuelta? How would that have gone over? Evidently Plugge doesn't possess the famous cojones Lefebvre boasts of having or perhaps the Dutchman simply has more tact.
This paragraph indicates you are still thinking PL was trying to attack JA. As said so many times, PL wasn't doing that. He was explaining the context of JA last two years that went not as well as hoped / expected, and PL made it clear it was an issue that was discussed and adressed with JA and within the team, and that was in the context of some of the top riders underperforming (Asgreen was also discussed). Just imagine WvA crashed and Plugge was saying he had some talks with WvA and Roglic to check if they were still 100% motivated after their crashes. I'm sure Plugge had that talk.

All PL had to say when asked about JA's lack of results last year was something to this effect: "He had a rough season and we both agreed he needs to move on, focus on getting back to his highest level, with the performances and results this presupposes, and finish out his contract as each of us auspiciously envisions." No controversy, no patronizing.
What you say PL should have said, is exactly how PL said it, except, he said it in his patronizing way, as he does for the last 66 years (I assume he started talking around the age of 1). Get over it. You can't change the guy and his wording / style, but in essence, he said exactly what you suggest (above) him to say. He didn't kick JA down, and the very fact that JA is is happy to stay with the team and has a good relation with PL proves that.

Sure, it may not be exactly or even remotely how he feels, however, it's what respect for someone's trials and tribulations and simple diplomacy demands. Instead, PL choses to live figuratively according to the expression of "when you've got a man down, kick him." To what advantage, however? To pay him less in the future? To persuade him to find a new team? Why else bring up having speculated about your rider's purely hypothetical tiredness with the team environment? Tough love to motivate him? Whatever the reason, he evidently just can't behave otherwise. Yet somehow he has a loyal team and staff, still willing to give their all for him nonetheless. Well, he must truly be a remarkable man.
Some additional context could maybe help (for those willing to listen / read):
PL is a big, big fan of JA. If not, he wouldn't have him in his team for so long. But (and there is a but) PL was annoyed with JA focus on the World's in 2021 and 2022:
The second WC victory in 2021 came after an OK but not overly great season / Tour, and JA was clearly riding August and September of 2021 as 100% prep race for the WC. PL wants his riders to ride for the race, not for WC prep. He made that very clear.
Last year, with all the mishaps, JA wanted to defend his title in Australia. Firstly PL knew having JA in the the Vuelta was a difficult balance act: JA had the WC in mind and wanted the Vuelta to prepare, while PL wanted total dedication for Evenepoel. That caused some nervousness with PL. Next, JA crashed out of that Vuelta. PL wasn't until then a big fan of JA going to Australia (half of the peloton did a cost/benefit analysis and decided they would lose too much time, money and chances in other races if they did the worlds), but now even more so, PL knew that JA was not in the very best shape and thus not a real contender, so he clearly expressed his opinion that he wanted him not to waste 3 weeks to just show up in Australia. Ofcourse JA was a bit stubborn, having won 2 WC and wanting to defend his jersey, but for PL, it was a total waste of time and it turned out like that.

So for the last two years, PL gets more and more the impression that JA is a rider he pays from August to the end of the year, just to prep for the Worlds. JA can't help crashing in LBL, but that meant that his year, in PL's views, was effectively over the moment JA crashed in April, as he wasn't ready for the Tour and so his only added value for the second half of the season was a support role in the Vuelta, in which he crashed. Instead of focusing on e.g. Lombardia, JA decided to still go for a half-hearted attempt in Wollongong.

And that's what PL is annoyed about: he clearly said he doesn't want a rider like Alaphilippe focusing every second half of the season on the World's and the World's alone.

Now we are 2023 and Evenepoel has won the Vuelta, PL tries to build a GC team around Evenepoel. So what could be JA's role? He is expensive and a team leader, but he hasn't won much in the last 2 years. He could either try to get to the level and wins of 2019, or he could transform into the role of a superdomestique for Evenepoel.
Getting back to the 2019 requires a good talk, and it seems they had that. JA is too expensive to be used as a superdomestique, but PL won't hesitate to use him this way if he feels JA is not performing. A 2024 out-of-contract JA aged 32, having been used as a superdom for Evenepoel, will be a different rider in salary, than a 2024 JA that is still winning big one-day races. While PL cannot renegotiate salaries, the only tool he has to put some pressure on JA is to remind him that he's paid well, with the aim of performing well. Ofcourse that's not very classy, but that's Lefevere.
 
Imagine if Richard Plugge at Jumbo-Visma had made similar statements to the press about Roglic after his falls at the Tour and Vuelta? How would that have gone over? Evidently Plugge doesn't possess the famous cojones Lefebvre boasts of having or perhaps the Dutchman simply has more tact.

Plugge for sure has shown some of that. Some still discussing it till this day. But i agree there was more tact involved.
 
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Is it because it's Alaphilippe that this suddenly is discussed? PL has been complaining about having to pay salaries for the last 30 years...

Alaphilippe was already underperforming before his crash. Why do you assume this has anything to do with Alaphilippe crashing?


It's a bit lame to compare it to the Evenepoel situation and quote PL just after Evenepoel made a life-threatening crash.


This paragraph indicates you are still thinking PL was trying to attack JA. As said so many times, PL wasn't doing that. He was explaining the context of JA last two years that went not as well as hoped / expected, and PL made it clear it was an issue that was discussed and adressed with JA and within the team, and that was in the context of some of the top riders underperforming (Asgreen was also discussed). Just imagine WvA crashed and Plugge was saying he had some talks with WvA and Roglic to check if they were still 100% motivated after their crashes. I'm sure Plugge had that talk.


What you say PL should have said, is exactly how PL said it, except, he said it in his patronizing way, as he does for the last 66 years (I assume he started talking around the age of 1). Get over it. You can't change the guy and his wording / style, but in essence, he said exactly what you suggest (above) him to say. He didn't kick JA down, and the very fact that JA is is happy to stay with the team and has a good relation with PL proves that.


Some additional context could maybe help (for those willing to listen / read):
PL is a big, big fan of JA. If not, he wouldn't have him in his team for so long. But (and there is a but) PL was annoyed with JA focus on the World's in 2021 and 2022:
The second WC victory in 2021 came after an OK but not overly great season / Tour, and JA was clearly riding August and September of 2021 as 100% prep race for the WC. PL wants his riders to ride for the race, not for WC prep. He made that very clear.
Last year, with all the mishaps, JA wanted to defend his title in Australia. Firstly PL knew having JA in the the Vuelta was a difficult balance act: JA had the WC in mind and wanted the Vuelta to prepare, while PL wanted total dedication for Evenepoel. That caused some nervousness with PL. Next, JA crashed out of that Vuelta. PL wasn't until then a big fan of JA going to Australia (half of the peloton did a cost/benefit analysis and decided they would lose too much time, money and chances in other races if they did the worlds), but now even more so, PL knew that JA was not in the very best shape and thus not a real contender, so he clearly expressed his opinion that he wanted him not to waste 3 weeks to just show up in Australia. Ofcourse JA was a bit stubborn, having won 2 WC and wanting to defend his jersey, but for PL, it was a total waste of time and it turned out like that.

So for the last two years, PL gets more and more the impression that JA is a rider he pays from August to the end of the year, just to prep for the Worlds. JA can't help crashing in LBL, but that meant that his year, in PL's views, was effectively over the moment JA crashed in April, as he wasn't ready for the Tour and so his only added value for the second half of the season was a support role in the Vuelta, in which he crashed. Instead of focusing on e.g. Lombardia, JA decided to still go for a half-hearted attempt in Wollongong.

And that's what PL is annoyed about: he clearly said he doesn't want a rider like Alaphilippe focusing every second half of the season on the World's and the World's alone.

Now we are 2023 and Evenepoel has won the Vuelta, PL tries to build a GC team around Evenepoel. So what could be JA's role? He is expensive and a team leader, but he hasn't won much in the last 2 years. He could either try to get to the level and wins of 2019, or he could transform into the role of a superdomestique for Evenepoel.
Getting back to the 2019 requires a good talk, and it seems they had that. JA is too expensive to be used as a superdomestique, but PL won't hesitate to use him this way if he feels JA is not performing. A 2024 out-of-contract JA aged 32, having been used as a superdom for Evenepoel, will be a different rider in salary, than a 2024 JA that is still winning big one-day races. While PL cannot renegotiate salaries, the only tool he has to put some pressure on JA is to remind him that he's paid well, with the aim of performing well. Ofcourse that's not very classy, but that's Lefevere.

You're making up a narrative here.
 
Is it because it's Alaphilippe that this suddenly is discussed? PL has been complaining about having to pay salaries for the last 30 years...

Alaphilippe was already underperforming before his crash. Why do you assume this has anything to do with Alaphilippe crashing?


It's a bit lame to compare it to the Evenepoel situation and quote PL just after Evenepoel made a life-threatening crash.


This paragraph indicates you are still thinking PL was trying to attack JA. As said so many times, PL wasn't doing that. He was explaining the context of JA last two years that went not as well as hoped / expected, and PL made it clear it was an issue that was discussed and adressed with JA and within the team, and that was in the context of some of the top riders underperforming (Asgreen was also discussed). Just imagine WvA crashed and Plugge was saying he had some talks with WvA and Roglic to check if they were still 100% motivated after their crashes. I'm sure Plugge had that talk.


What you say PL should have said, is exactly how PL said it, except, he said it in his patronizing way, as he does for the last 66 years (I assume he started talking around the age of 1). Get over it. You can't change the guy and his wording / style, but in essence, he said exactly what you suggest (above) him to say. He didn't kick JA down, and the very fact that JA is is happy to stay with the team and has a good relation with PL proves that.


Some additional context could maybe help (for those willing to listen / read):
PL is a big, big fan of JA. If not, he wouldn't have him in his team for so long. But (and there is a but) PL was annoyed with JA focus on the World's in 2021 and 2022:
The second WC victory in 2021 came after an OK but not overly great season / Tour, and JA was clearly riding August and September of 2021 as 100% prep race for the WC. PL wants his riders to ride for the race, not for WC prep. He made that very clear.
Last year, with all the mishaps, JA wanted to defend his title in Australia. Firstly PL knew having JA in the the Vuelta was a difficult balance act: JA had the WC in mind and wanted the Vuelta to prepare, while PL wanted total dedication for Evenepoel. That caused some nervousness with PL. Next, JA crashed out of that Vuelta. PL wasn't until then a big fan of JA going to Australia (half of the peloton did a cost/benefit analysis and decided they would lose too much time, money and chances in other races if they did the worlds), but now even more so, PL knew that JA was not in the very best shape and thus not a real contender, so he clearly expressed his opinion that he wanted him not to waste 3 weeks to just show up in Australia. Ofcourse JA was a bit stubborn, having won 2 WC and wanting to defend his jersey, but for PL, it was a total waste of time and it turned out like that.

So for the last two years, PL gets more and more the impression that JA is a rider he pays from August to the end of the year, just to prep for the Worlds. JA can't help crashing in LBL, but that meant that his year, in PL's views, was effectively over the moment JA crashed in April, as he wasn't ready for the Tour and so his only added value for the second half of the season was a support role in the Vuelta, in which he crashed. Instead of focusing on e.g. Lombardia, JA decided to still go for a half-hearted attempt in Wollongong.

And that's what PL is annoyed about: he clearly said he doesn't want a rider like Alaphilippe focusing every second half of the season on the World's and the World's alone.

Now we are 2023 and Evenepoel has won the Vuelta, PL tries to build a GC team around Evenepoel. So what could be JA's role? He is expensive and a team leader, but he hasn't won much in the last 2 years. He could either try to get to the level and wins of 2019, or he could transform into the role of a superdomestique for Evenepoel.
Getting back to the 2019 requires a good talk, and it seems they had that. JA is too expensive to be used as a superdomestique, but PL won't hesitate to use him this way if he feels JA is not performing. A 2024 out-of-contract JA aged 32, having been used as a superdom for Evenepoel, will be a different rider in salary, than a 2024 JA that is still winning big one-day races. While PL cannot renegotiate salaries, the only tool he has to put some pressure on JA is to remind him that he's paid well, with the aim of performing well. Ofcourse that's not very classy, but that's Lefevere.
I get all of that, but disagree on PL's modus operandi as I've stated all along.

His grievences with JA should not have been stated in the press as leverage against him. I'm well aware he's always been this way, but that doesn't mean one has to like it, let alone accept it as a justification. It's simply a megalomaniacal power trip.

As far as preparing for Worlds is concerned, weren't Ala's travel and lodging costs picked up by the French federation? In any case, how can you expect a pro not to defend his rainbow jersey? If PL has only eyes for Evenepoel at Worlds, then he's mixing team with national interests, but this shouldn't hinder Ala's prep and ambitions. It's part of the game. Ala is a QS employee for the season, but a member of the French national team for Worlds and Olympics. That's just cycling. In the grand scheme, Ala prepares to deliver in the spring classics, then for stages at the Tour, to then use the Vuelta as prep for Worlds. So no matter the early results, his season is organized thus.

Hence Patrick's sudden turn against Ala's objectives, can only be connected to the realization, given the Frenchman's problems and setbacks, that he's spending money he'd rather channel elsewhere to invest in supporting Evenepoel. Still having the rainbow jersey adds luster to the team franchise and it's sponsors, whether it's within the home nation or not, as were the cases with Imola and Leuven. In any case, Lefebvre has created a dilemma of his own making.

So basically what you are insinuating is that Ala should have forsaken his chances of defending his title first at Leuven and then Wollongong, simply because this conflicted with Patrick's interest in seeing Remco shine.

Obviously that's going to lead to a conflict of interests. But it's one that PL has created and publicly seminated.
 
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