Soudal Quick-Step riders informed of 'ongoing discussions' over merger plans according to leaked memo

Belgian team states that no agreement is yet in place in relation to talks with several parties

Clock17:10, Monday 25th September 2023

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Will Remco Evenepoel and Sepp Kuss be teammates next year?

GCN can reveal that Soudal Quick-Step riders have been sent an internal letter from team boss Patrick Lefevere in the wake of revelations of a possible merger between the Belgian team and Jumbo-Visma.

The letter, which has been sent to GCN by a source close to the team, was written by team boss Patrick Lefevere on Monday. It stopped short of mentioning Jumbo-Visma at any point, and instead talked of general talks with various groups.

“I'm writing to you with regards to the reports that you have seen in the media recently. I am sure this has caused some uncertainty, for which I apologise,” Lefevere wrote.

“There have been ongoing discussions with various parties in the last month, as I have been open to talking to anybody who felt they could invest in our team and help us improve and progress. That has never been a secret,” the Belgian boss added.

News broke of a possible merger between Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step on Sunday evening with Wielerflits stating that a deal between the two WorldTour teams was on course for the start of 2024.

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The news came as a huge shock to both rosters, while team boss Lefevere and Jumbo-Visma general manager Richard Plugge refrained from commenting on the matter.

In his letter to the team, Lefevere stated that no deal had been signed and he asked his riders to remain positive and focused on the last few races of the current season.

“Contrary to reports however, there are no concrete projects and plans at this moment. Should this change you will be informed. In the meantime I ask you all to continue to show the team spirit and togetherness that epitomises our team. We are at the end of a long season but we still have several objectives left to make another memorable year for the team,” Lefevere wrote.

The Belgian boss ended the memo by asking riders and staff to refrain from talking to the media and to keep the information private.

While the initial story over a possible merger pinpointed 2024 as a possible start date the reality is that such a short turnaround would be almost impossible to facilitate at this point. A more plausible scenario would see a deal signed in the near future with the merger taking place at the start of 2025.

GCN understands that several staff at Soudal Quick-Step have recently signed one-year contract extensions, while both teams’ rosters for 2024 are already close to complete capacity. There is also the matter of bike sponsorship to finalise with Specialized locked into Soudal Quick-Step until the end of 2026.

Jumbo-Visma would not confirm if they had written to their riders and staff in relation to the news. On Sunday night a spokesperson for the team told GCN: "We usually don’t respond to rumours. There were many… Jumbo-Visma with Neom, Ineos with Evenepoel. And now this… Several options are open and time will tell (soon)."

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