It’s not clear if Patrick Lefevere is a fan of the Succession television series but much like Logan Roy, the Belgian team manager appears to have finally found his successor.
Lefevere will turn 69 in January and has worked as directeur sportif and then team manager since ending his brief spell as a professional rider in 1979.
He had promised to stay as team manager at Soudal-QuickStep until 2026 after securing sponsorship to build a team around Remco Evenepoel.
However the turmoil of the merger/takeover with Jumbo-Visma, appears to have accelerated Lefevere’s plans to find an heir who can help develop the team for the long-term future and eventually take the helm as team manager.
“We have found someone who will start in a role as COO (Chief Operating Officer). It is not a right-hand man, but a COO,” Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad during a joint interview with Ruben Desmet, the CEO of Quick-Step after the team celebrated the 25th anniversary of Quick-Step’s involvement with the team.
Lefevere didn’t name the new COO but any transition will be gradual.
“We don’t want Patrick to stop abruptly but we do ask that there is a plan for a successor,” Desmet said.
“Someone who can follow along and gradually takes on more responsibility. It cannot suddenly go from zero to one hundred.”
Lefevere insisted that the selection of his successor was done carefully.
“That’s not a simple quest, because I can’t get it wrong,” he said.
“I always joke that ‘with thirty riders per season I can get one transfer wrong’. Not in the role of successor. But we have found someone who will start in a role as COO.”
The Soudal-QuickStep team gathered in Belgian last week for their first team-building activities ahead of the 2024 season. It is not clear if the new COO attended the event.
In a series of events with sponsors and partners, the entire team – including new signings Mikel Landa and Gianni Moscon, and seven neo-pros, took part in planning and team building activities. Britain’s James Knox was confirmed as the team’s 28th and final rider for the 2024 roster.
Rider programmes and objectives for 2024 have still to be confirmed but Evenepoel is expected to make his Tour de France debut, while Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert and Moscon lead the Classics squad.
“We were looking for a team building event around the time of our team meeting, which was held at Soudal’s offices in Turnhout,” team directeur sportif Tom Steels…