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Fernando Gaviria could leave Quick-Step Floors as finance worries continue

Joe Robinson
5 Oct 2018

Patrick Lefevere could be forced to lose star riders in order to balance books

Despite being this season's most successful team by far, Quick-Step Floors could be entering a period of damage limitation by allowing star riders Fernando Gaviria and Enric Mas to leave. 

Reports in Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport suggest that 'almost everything is done' for sprinter Gaviria's move from the Belgian WorldTour team across to UAE-Team Emirates.

It is also rumoured that recent Vuelta a Espana second place finisher Mas will be forced to leave the team with Astana his likely destination. Being Spanish, it should also be expected that Movistar will show interest.

Despite 69 wins so far this season, including 13 Grand Tour stages and two Monuments, team manager Patrick Lefevere has confirmed that the team has yet to replace the funding shortfall of Quick-Step Floors, that has stepped down as the primary sponsor. 

The team currently operates on an estimated budget of £15.9 million a year which is set to shrink for 2019. With this and no new sponsors, Lefevere looks set to reduce the wage bill in order to keep the team functioning. 

Gaviria is one of Quick-Step Floors's best-paid riders and, despite contributing nine victories and a day in the Tour de France yellow jersey, could be seen as expendable in Lefevere's future plans. 

The Colombian sits among four out-and-out sprinters within the team's roster. Teammate Elia Viviani has actually had a better season with 19 victories including four at the Giro d'Italia and three at the Vuelta. 

The team also contains youngsters Fabio Jakobsen and Alvaro Hodeg who have also taken big victories in their first WorldTour years.

The balancing act of rider's wages is no new story to Lefevere who has consistently had to let star riders leave in order to keep the books balanced.

In recent years, the Belgian has seen the likes of Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish and Dan Martin move on as a way to keep the team functioning.

Lefevere also allowed Tour of Flanders champion Niki Terpstra to go to ProContinental team Direct Energie.  

Earlier this season, Lefevere was candid in his needs for further finances and his openness as to where the money could come from.

'Quick-Step Floors will stay for at least another three years, but they would prefer to become a second sponsor,' said Lefevere.

'I do not have that main sponsor yet. I do not really care where the sponsor comes from. That may well be China or Mongolia.

'As long as they bring real money and not Monopoly money.'