Through the decades: How Soudal Quick-Step hit its 900-win milestone

From its first win in 2003 to Remco Evenepoel's grand tour victory, Patrick Lefevere's 'Wolfpack' is consistently one of the top performers.

Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

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Mauri Vansevenant pushed the Soudal Quick-Step franchise over the line Wednesday at the Tour of Oman with a team milestone to claim its 900th victory in elite men’s racing.

The Belgian beat back American Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) at the top of Green Mountain in the final stage, and missed the overall victory by 1 second.

The 23-year-old Vansevenant, whose win Wednesday was only his second as a pro, was astonished that it was him who delivered the team’s historic victory.

“The fact that I wrote history for Soudal Quick-Step with this 900th win leaves me speechless,” Vansevenant said Wednesday. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought about this, about being in the spotlight of such an important moment in the history of the team. Just riding for the Wolfpack is something special to me, and now, to hit this milestone … it’s just amazing.”

The victory is already the fifth by Soudal-Quick-Step in 2023, and the mark pushes the Belgian-based team to a new franchise record.

Since its formation in 2003, the team run by Belgian manager Patrick Lefevere is always at the top of the teams with the most victories just about every season.

Among the highlights of the team’s 900 UCI victories include 21 monuments, seven elite men’s world road race championships, six elite men’s world individual time trial titles, four world team time trial championships and two World Cups (both events no longer run), three European Championships, and one Olympic title.

Across the years, 174 riders raced for Lefevere under the Quick-Step banner. Of those, 103 won at least one victory, The victories came from 34 countries – from Argentina to the United States, and from Norway to Australia, via China – across five continents.

“To see Soudal Quick-Step reach 900 wins makes me very proud. It is an unbelievable number,” Lefevere said. “When we started this team all those years ago, we were ambitious and we wanted to be one of the best squads in the world, but I don’t think anyone could envisage us clocking up 900 victories.

“It shows the dedication of the team’s management, staff and riders, sponsors and partners, and the public that has supported us over the years,” he said. “I remember our first win with Servais in Qatar, but it’s hard to pick out a favorite victory, as every one of them is special in their own way, and they are a testament to the collectiveness that makes this team really unique. Here is to many more victories to come.”

Here’s the backstory on elite men’s racing’s most successful team:

Roots dating back to 2003

Tom Boonen, shown here in the 2003 Paris-Roubaix, carried team colors for more than a decade. (Photo: James Startt/VeloNews)

The Belgian team’s roots date back to 2003 when it was born out of the Mapei squad, and raced its first season as Quick-Step-Davitamon.

That year’s team included 29 riders, including such figures as Paolo Bettini, Johan Museeuw, Tom Boonen, Richard Virenque, and Frank Vandenbroucke.

The first win under the new Quick-Step jersey came from Servais Knaven at stage 5 at the Tour of Qatar in February that year.

The 2003 squad won 21 times in its debut season, but the team run by Lefevere soon began racking up huge numbers. The Belgian outfit usually leads each season in the number of wins per year per team.

From 2004 to 2006, the team won 123 races. The output dipped below 30 win in 2009, and hit a low ebb of just eight wins in 2011, but bounced back with an astounding 50 wins in 2012.

The team topped that with 54 wins in 2013, thanks in part with the arrival of Mark Cavendish. He won 43 races with the team in a three-year span from 2013-15.

Lefevere’s team hit a record of 72 wins in the 2018 season, when the team hoovered up victories with its flank of sprinters that included Fernando Gaviria, Elia Viviani, Álvaro José Hodeg, and a young Fabio Jakobsen.

The team won 215 races in the past four seasons alone.

The ‘Wolfpack’ is born

Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel carried the team into a new era. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images) 

Throughout that run, Quick-Step was always a major play in the spring classics, and has dominated the northern classics since its inception. Museeuw and Boonen were the early markers, followed by the likes of Niki Terpstra before the rise of the “Wolfpack” and its modern incarnation of a flood-style tactics of having multiple leaders in the one-day races.

Julian Alaphilippe brought new verve in the so-called “Ardennes” classics, and won back-to-back world titles.

In September, Remco Evenepoel won the team’s first grand tour at the Vuelta a España, which was also Belgium’s first grand tour victory since the 1970s.

In fact, it’s Evenepoel’s rise as a GC contender that might see the team’s victory haul tamp down a bit as Lefevere promises to bring more support riders to help Evenepoel as he takes on the Giro d’Italia this year and a likely start at the Tour de France in 2024.

With title sponsors Soudal and Quick-Step committed through 2027, hitting 1,000 wins is very much a possibility.

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