The Belgian coach saw his team achieve another success in 2022, but they were overshadowed by the Dutch team and the others, who topped the UCI rankings with 38 victories, one of which was the Tour de France and many of which were team wins 1-2.
Jumbo Visma’s last feats came with the victory on the Vuelta’s opening day on Friday. QuickStep was missed out on second by Ineos Grenadiers by a split second, but Jumbo was ahead by about 14 seconds.
“They come from another planet,” a Belgian newspaper quoted Lefevre as saying. Heat Neusblad (Opens in a new tab).
“When I see how our boys took turns, I wonder how the jumbo passengers did it. With the car you can say: ‘on two wheels.'”
Lefevere also writes a Saturday column for Heat NeusbladAnd back to the topic there.
“I’m not surprised by Jumbo-Visma’s victory per se, but by their leadership,” he explained. “Fourteen seconds is much more than 23 kilometers.”
However, it wasn’t as if Lefevere felt his team put in a perfect performance. For starters, their team, which includes a number of Remco Evenepoel’s climbing shops, has a less pronounced pilot strength than Jumbo-Visma, while also highlighting a bug from the world champion.
“We have to be satisfied with third place, after a near-perfect time trial. Along the way we made a real mistake, Julian Alaphilippe peeled the wrong side of the train once, contrary to instructions,” Lefevre said.
“Anyway, we finished where we were, with a lineup that’s definitely not composed specifically for the team time trial. We chose more climb coils and not, say, Joseph Cerny, with whom you have extra horsepower in the time trial.”
While Lefevere’s comments weren’t necessarily accusations, they may be surprising, given cycling history and otherworldly connotations, as was the case when Elisa Longo-Borgini referred to anime Van Vleuten as “alien” a few years ago.
Jumbo-Visma’s dominant performance in the Tour de France has led to questions about doping, which have been routinely asked of all winning riders and teams since the scandals of recent history.
While Wout van Aert described the investigation as “such a dirty question”, Jonas Weinggaard insisted: “We are absolutely clean, all of us, and I can say that to each of you. None of us take anything illegal.”
“I think the reason we are so good is because of the preparation we do. We take our highland camps to the next level, and everything: the materials, the food, the training. I think the team is really the best at this. That’s why you have to trust us.”
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