Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
Patrick Lefevere, the general manager of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, shouted to the world that he wants to win the Tour de France with a Belgian and the process is starting.
2022 marked the transition of the Belgian team from the stage chasing/classic experts team to a grand tour contender one.
While the spirit of the wolf pack somehow stayed but this time there would be one sole leader of the pack, the world champion 2022, Remco Evenepoel.
We begin with the man himself. Personally, I have not been a big fan of the man himself, right until now when I looking at his records.
Priced at 28 credit (6th most expensive), he brought in 2235 points from just 4 races.( 3 wins: Liege-Bastogne-Liege, San Sebastian and World Championship and 6th in De Brabantse Pijl).
The most stunning was that he earned those from starting just 5 superclassico races. The only race that he did not earn any points was La Fleche Wallonne. That day, he was riding for Julian Alaphilippe who finished 4th! What a phenomenon indeed!
His velogames stage championship season started at Tirreno-Adriatico where despite finishing 11th in the Overall, he had the third best final VG points of 559 behind Pogacar (1174) and Vingegaard (737). His heavy 22 credit points did prevented him from entering the best possible team.
Then came Itzulia where he was the second best rider in Velogames with 739 points. His relatively low price of 18 credits compared to the 28 of Roglic earned him a place at the table.
Best possible @velogames team for #Itzulia2022:
4549 points, 100 credits— Calum Lonie 🇮🇪🇨🇵🇪🇺 (@CalumLonie) April 9, 2022
Then came the Tour de Suisse with all the question mark about his abilities as a climber. With just 368 points (12th) for 22 points, doubts started to appear.
Doubts that were majestically answered at the Vuelta! Remco Evenepoel can win grand tour and nothing could prevent from being declared Velogames Spain MVP at 2659 points.
Best possible team for La Vuelta ciclista a España 2022:
A 1: Remco Evenepoel
A 2: Enric Mas
C 1: Miguel Ángel López
C 2: Carlos Rodriguez
S: Mads Pedersen
U 1: Fred Wright
U 2: Quentin Pacher
U 3: Jan Polanc
WC: Juan Ayuso
Cost: 100— Jeremad (@jeremader) September 11, 2022
Verdict 2023: Prior to writing this piece, I had my reserve on Remco Evenepoel. But after analysing his stats, there is no doubt about it, the world champion 2022 only rides to win. He will certainly be improving in the mountains and there are very few who could beat him on a grand tour, and none of them seemed to be interested in challenging him for the Maglia Rosa 2023.
After a very transparent first part of the season, he was very quiet and only earned his place in the Tour De France squad at the last minute. His season then suddenly started to kick off.
Despite not finishing the San Sebastian Classic, he still earned 60 points as assists.
Then came an incredible return from 6 of the 7 races he started. He only failed to score any points Bernocchi.
Verdict 2023: He will be a major asset in the classics for his new team EF-Education.
He started the season in flying form in Strade Bianche finishing 3rd and looked to be destined to a great season. His 10th place in E3 saxo classics and 6th in Amstel Gold race were the only other highlights of a very deceiving season for the Danish.
Despite his heavy 26 credit points, he remains a safe placing in Velogames. Scoring a total of 984 from a total of 5 of the 6 races he started is no small feat.
Verdict 2023: He has not raced since the Tour de France 2022 and this could help for a drop in value in superclassico 2023. In a wolfpack, where many of the classic riders are gone, he will be one to watch!
14th in Milan San Remo, 13th in Paris-Roubaix and 3rd in Dwaars door het Hageland made up for the majority of the 846 points he earned.
Despite winning the French championship, his place in the Tour de France 2022 was only earned after a last minute substitution. He brought in a decent 335 points for his 6 points credits cost in the Tour.
Verdict 2023: In what most probably looks like his last season in the team, he will be thriving to prove himself when given the chance.
He took a very convincing win in the last stage of the Volta Catalunya this year. His 289 points earned him the 14th best riders for 8 credit points.
He again cost 8 credits in the Dauphine where he scored the 16th best total of 266 points.
Unfortunately for him, his chances were limited in the Tour as he was mainly used to protect and lead out Fabio Jakobsen.
The young Italian did however show some teeth toward the end of the season particularly in Montreal where he finished 3rd and Gran Piemonte finishing 8th.
Verdict 2023: He will be of little to no use to Remco in the Giro. The plan for the Wolf pack in the classics might be to ride to bring it to a sprint finish for either of Jakobsen or the incoming Merlier.
Interestingly he was priced at 8 points in the Giro. Only Mathieu Van der Poel and his 12 coins cost more. The swiss brought back the 5 best unclassed performance with 629 points.
Verdict 2023: He is a very under-rated time trialist and he will is very likely to form part of Remco’s Armada for the Giro.
His 2022 season will be remembered for his crash in Paris-Roubaix where he still managed to finish 10th and him upsetting the odds and taking the Maillot Jaune in Copenhagen.
Verdict 2023: One of the last piece but probably most precious part of the Wolfpack.
We still don’t know where he will be next season but one thing is certain, the 2022 British Road Champion still has some Juice left. He went over the mountains in the Giro and finished as the 4th best sprinter in Velogames behind Demare, Girmay and Gaviria.
Verdict 2023: While he contends himself with just a Tour de France stage win for a whole season. Probably yes!
He only had one sprint chance in the whole superclassico season and he took it. The European championship will probably be heading for the Tour de France again.
He was not the best choice for a sprinter in 2022 with his 14 credit costs. Pedersen (8), Laporte (6) and Matthews and Groenewegen both at 10 brought more points.
Verdict 2023: Can Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl turn the clock back and bring back long sprint trains in the Tour de France 2023?
The latest gem of the Wolfpack announced him on the big stage when he took the win against the likes of Phil Bauhaus in Catalunya.
His 4 credit cost earned him a place in the best possible team with 267 points.
Verdict 2023: As much as he will be improving, he needs to be more consistent in stage placings when given the chance.
The best rider of the Superclassico 2021 (1441 points at 32 credits) had a season to forget.
A 4th place in a Fleche Wallonne and a couple of assists was all the could he show in the superclassico which started with that impressive crash in Strade Bianche.
He was even denied a best possible team place in Itzulia due to his high cost of 20 credits. He brought the 7th best total of 570 points.
Verdict 2023: He will be celebrating his 31st birthday next season and he has recovered from horrible crashes each and ever time this year. His whole season will depend on whether he will used as domestique for Remco Evenepoel in the Giro or will he be able to grow his from for the Tour de France with many stages suiting his punchy character.