Led by Patrick Lefevere, Soudal Quick-Step has been the preeminent Spring Classics squad for the better part of the last two decades. Although they were officially founded in 2003, the team’s roots date back further as they were formed from an unofficial merger of Domo-Farm Frites and Mapei-QuickStep, both of which Lefevere had been involved with over the years.
In 2022, spearheaded by Remco Evenepoel, the team went to new heights, winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège before then securing overall victory at the Vuelta a España - the first Grand Tour win in the team’s history. Sandwiched in the midst of all that were stage wins at both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, before it was once again Evenepoel who had the final say on the 2022 season - leaving the rest of the bunch behind to win the Road World Championships in style.
In 2023, Evenepoel may have lacked in the Grand Tours with a COVID-19 curtailed Giro d'Italia and a collapse at the Vuelta a España, yet still dominated Liège-Bastogne-Liège and won the time trial world championship. Altogether, the rest of the team was not able to live up to Evenepoel's standard, for most other teams those accolades and a win total of 55 are enough to avoid any panic buttons.
With Evenepoel's success, and with the team having a couple of off-years in the Classics, there’s a sense that Lefevere’s team are changing tack for 2024. The team can still call upon some of the best one-day racers in the world though in Julian Alaphilippe, a two-time world champion, Kasper Asgreen, a Tour of Flanders winner, and the exciting addition of proven U23 talent Luke Lamperti.
Nevertheless, with the signing of Mikel Landa, an established Grand Tour rider, the team’s focus will be firmly on Evenepoel’s development as he will debut at the Tour de France this summer.
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Ilan Van Wilder
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