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Patrick Lefevere has indicated that his QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl team is unlikely to make any further major signings for next year having already announced the bulk of the team’s new recruits.
The UCI’s transfer window opened on August 1 with a flurry of activity and Lefevere’s squad announced a trio of 2023 signings with Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Casper Pedersen (Team DSM), and Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) all joining.
QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl only has a handful of riders out of contract for next year and with Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel already tied down to long-term and expensive deals Lefevere only has a certain amount of wiggle room left in the market.
Mark Cavendish is destined to leave after Lefevere deemed the British sprinter to be surplus to requirements, while Iljo Keisse will retire and Zdeněk Štybar is unlikely to get a new deal at this point. Dries Devenyns could still be offered a new deal, although the rider has been given time to consider his future. Yves Lampaert, who wore the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, is expected to say having agreed to a verbal agreement with Lefevere.
Writing in his Het Nieuwsblad blog, Lefevere said: “In the meantime, we have passed 1 August and transfers can be officialized. We have already announced the arrival of three riders – Hirt, Pedersen and Merlier – and you should not expect much more from us.
“Only five riders are out of contract. Cavendish leaves the team, Keisse stops but Devenyns has now indicated that he would like to continue. He is after all Julian’s man, the one who always gives the appropriate pass, and therefore an important person. I’ll just wait and see: Dries is honest enough to indicate whether or not he can take an extra year.”
Pedersen is seen a long-term replacement for Michael Mørkøv in the leadouts, while Merlier will act as the second sprinter behind Fabio Jakobsen. Hirt won a stage and finished sixth overall in the Giro d’Italia this year and is likely to have his own GC chances next year and support Remco Evenepoel.