QuickStep-AlphaVinyl boss Patrick Lefevere has described Jumbo-Visma as coming “from another planet” after their opening team time trial win at the Vuelta a España.
The Belgian boss has seen his team have another successful campaign in 2022, but she and everyone else have been overshadowed by the Dutch squad, who top the UCI rankings with 38 victories including the Tour de France and several of which were won. in team 1-2s.
Jumbo-Visma’s latest achievement came with the victory on the opening day of the Vuelta on Friday. QuickStep was sent into second place by Ineos Grenadiers by a split second, but Jumbo was about 14 seconds ahead.
“They come from another planet,” Lefevere said, according to the Belgian newspaper The newspapaer (opens in new tab).
“When I see how our boys took the corners, I wonder how the Jumbo riders did that. With a car you would say: ‘on two wheels’.”
Lefevere also prescribes a Saturday column The newspapaerand there he came back to the subject.
“I am not surprised by Jumbo-Visma’s victory in itself, but by their lead,” he explained. “Fourteen seconds is a lot more than 23 kilometers.”
Still, it wasn’t the case that Lefevere felt his team had delivered a perfect performance. To start with, their team, which includes a number of climbing competitions for Remco Evenepoel, has less obvious time trial ability than Jumbo-Visma, while also exposing a mistake by the world champion.
“We have to be satisfied with third place, after a time trial that was almost perfect. On the way we made one real mistake” Julian Alaphilippe once peeled against instructions on the wrong side of the train,” said Lefevere.
“We will in any case finish in our place, with a team that is certainly not specifically composed for the team time trial. We have opted for some more climbing profiles and not, for example, Josef Cerny, with whom you have extra horsepower in the time trial.”
While Lefevere’s comments weren’t necessarily accusatory, they may raise eyebrows, given the history of cycling and its connotations of extraterrestrials, as was the case when Elisa Longo Borghini called Annemiek van Vleuten an “alien” a few years ago. .
Jumbo-Visma’s dominant performance in the Tour de France raised 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 stupid question”, Jonas Vingegaard insisted: “We are completely clean, every one of us, and I can say that to all of you. None of us are taking anything illegal.
“I think we are so good because of the preparation we do. We take altitude camps to the next level, and everything: materials, food and training. I think the team is really the best at this. That’s why you have to trust us. “