In contrast to the rumors of a transfer from the British staff for Primož Roglič that circulated in the summertime, this story has legs, with one supply telling VeloNews that Ineos billionaire proprietor Jim Ratcliffe is determined to land a possible Tour winner who can ship fast success.
Evenepoel’s Fast-Step Alpha Vinyl staff boss Patrick Lefevere revealed to VeloNews that Dave Brailsford, the staff principal at Ineos Grenadiers, despatched a message after the Belgian rider’s Vuelta a España win that learn: “If at some point you wish to promote him give me a name.”
“It’s easy. Dave Brailsford texted me, and he doesn’t textual content that a lot,” Lefevere informed VeloNews. “He mentioned, ‘Congratulations, what a champ, and if at some point you wish to promote him give me a name.’ That was it. No extra, no much less.”
Was that not only a tongue-in-cheek remark?
“You’ll be able to’t inform if somebody is joking on Whatsapp. There was no smiley, no particular face. Just some phrases. Different colleagues simply congratulated me, but when Dave needs Remco then he in all probability wants some huge cash,” Lefevere added.
Evenepoel, 22, is underneath contract at Fast-Step Alpha Vinyl till 2026 and not too long ago received each the Vuelta a España and the lads’s street race on the UCI Highway World Championships in Australia.
He arrived again to Belgium earlier this week to an enormous fanfare however with new query marks about his future following a switch pursuit from Ineos.
There have been hyperlinks between Ineos and the Belgian rider for numerous years, with the rider and his father assembly with the staff a number of years in the past on the squad’s base in Monaco.
Evenepoel is managed by his father, Patrick Evenepoel, who has been instrumental within the rider’s profession since his junior days.
“We’ve had contact for years with them [Ineos] however there’s not been a gathering,” Evenepoel’s father informed VeloNews.
“There was no assembly however we had a cellphone name with them. We’ve had contacts with them and I do know Mr. Brailsford and Mr. Ellingworth. We’ve recognized one another for years. It’s regular that they name me to say congratulations with the Vuelta and after Liège.”
When requested if there had been a dialogue over a doable swap to Ineos sooner or later, Evenepoel senior laughed earlier than saying: “That dialogue was already there three years in the past.”
When requested particularly if a deal may very well be made for subsequent yr, he added: “I don’t know. Remco has a contract for 5 years with Fast-Step. I don’t know. It’s not for me to speak. We wish to rejoice the Vuelta and the world championships, and what’s occurring sooner or later, we’ll see what’s coming.”
Ineos Grenadiers proprietor determined to land a Tour de France winner
Ineos appear intent on reclaiming the highest cease on the Tour de France having gone by their leanest interval of Tour success for the reason that squad started a decade in the past.
The staff’s final yellow jersey got here in 2019 by way of Egan Bernal, however the Colombian’s standing has been hit by damage and a serious accident in 2022.
It’s unclear if he’ll regain his place as a Tour winner, whereas this yr’s occasion showcased the expertise hole between Ineos’ grand tour leaders and people of UAE Crew Emirates and Jumbo-Visma.
Jumbo-Visma received the Tour by Jonas Vingegaard, with Tadej Pogacar dominating the earlier two editions. Though Ineos was in a position to submit a rider on the Tour podium this yr in Geraint Thomas, the Welshman is nearing the top of his profession. Dani Martínez, one other candidate for management, has but to satisfy his Tour promise after a quiet exhibiting in July.
With Adam Yates and Richard Carapaz each leaving for UAE Crew Emirates and EF Training EasyPost, respectively, the British staff has a serious void in the case of present leaders for grand excursions.
The staff has signed a bunch of proficient younger riders, however they nonetheless want time to develop, and even the likes of Tom Pidcock may very well be a yr or two, a minimum of, from competing for top-fives or podiums.
In the meantime, Carlos Rodríguez, who impressed in the course of the Vuelta a Espana in 2022, has been linked with a transfer to Movistar in 2024.
In keeping with a supply near the staff, Ineos proprietor Jim Ratcliffe is determined to land one other Tour title after plowing hundreds of thousands into the staff and solely claiming one Tour and one Giro d’Italia crown since his arrival mid-way by the 2019 season.
Though the staff is making progress in a number of space, a supply informed VeloNews that, “Jim needs to win the Tour now. There’s positively one thing occurring in the case of Evenepoel.”
Evenepoel has a contract with Fast-Step till 2026 and is in line for each efficiency associated bonuses or a brand new deal following his unimaginable marketing campaign.
Nevertheless, VeloNews has discovered from a supply near the scenario that there have been points over bonuses resulting in a level of frustration on Evenepoel’s aspect.
When requested if a Vuelta bonus had been paid but, Evenepoel’s father mentioned: “It’s solely been two weeks. He has a contract to pay the bonus although. Every little thing in time. I believe it’s OK. He has conferences with the staff about every thing, however a contract is a contract.”
Lefevere has the vast majority of the ability on this scenario, assuming that he can meet all of the monetary phrases of the present deal.
In keeping with the staff boss, there are not any points in any respect as regards to bonuses.
“He has a five-year contract. Every little thing was mounted one yr in the past when he signed for 5 years. There’s no regrets from anybody as a result of we each know what we signed,” Lefevere mentioned. “It’s a must to ask his father if he’s not pleased with the bonuses. There are not any points. The bonuses are mounted and the salaries are mounted for the following 5 years.”
This isn’t the primary time a staff has explored such an choice.
In 2021, Bora-Hansgrohe reportedly went all-in on making an attempt to purchase the Belgian rider out of his contract just for Evenepoel to agree phrases with Fast-Step for a further 5 years.
There have been murmurs of discontent in the case of the help Evenepoel wants within the mountains if he’s to problem for a Tour title. Jumbo-Visma, UAE and Ineos all present higher power in depth, however Lefevere has tried to steadiness the staff’s classics and grand tour ambitions within the switch market.
At this stage it might be nearly unthinkable that Fast-Step boss Lefevere might or would enable the primary Belgian in many years to win a grand tour merely stroll out the door.
However Ineos is actually retaining their ear to the bottom figuring out full effectively that if it might signal Evenepoel and break the rider’s contract, then they’d instantly have a possible Tour winner of their ranks.
Will it occur?
It’s an enormous lengthy shot, and this might simply be a tactic to attract out a greater contract for Evenepoel, however there’s positively intent and curiosity on Ineos’ half.