Arnaud De Lie recounts Patrick Lefevere’s helicopter visit in pursuit of his talent for Quick-step team

Belgian Arnaud De Lie of Lotto-Dstny wins the one day cycling race 'Tour of Leuven - Memorial Jef Scherens' in Leuven, Tuesday 15 August 2023. BELGA PHOTO BERT GOYVAERTS (Photo by BERT GOYVAERTS / BELGA MAG / Belga via AFP) (Photo by BERT GOYVAERTS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

In a revealing episode from the podcast ‘Live Slow Ride Fast’, hosted by Stefan Bolt and former cyclist Laurens ten Dam, rising star Arnaud De Lie shared an intriguing anecdote about his early encounters with Patrick Lefevere, the team manager of Soudal Quick-Step. The young Walloon rider, currently with Lotto Dstny and regarded as a significant talent in the cycling world, recounted how Lefevere once visited him and his family on their farm in a rather unconventional manner – by helicopter.

De Lie, now 21 years old, began his tale by emphasising Lefevere’s interest in him from his days as a junior cyclist. However, a commitment had already been made to Lotto as a first-year junior. “I had already signed with Lotto’s youth team in November, and potentially with the professionals in 2022,” De Lie explained. Despite this, Lefevere didn’t relinquish his pursuit and visited him once or twice thereafter.

The most memorable of these visits occurred when Lefevere opted to travel not by car, but by helicopter. “He messaged me asking if he could call, and on the phone, he enquired, in French with a slight accent, if it was possible to visit via helicopter,” De Lie said. Initially puzzled by the question, De Lie confirmed the feasibility of a helicopter landing on their farm.

Lefevere’s arrival was quite a spectacle, causing a stir among the family and even their dog, which De Lie humorously recalled. Despite this grand gesture and Lefevere’s presentation of an attractive project, De Lie decided to remain with Lotto Dstny, extending his contract until the end of 2026. His decision was influenced by the trust he placed in his teammates at Lotto and the different team structure, as well as the presence of Remco Evenepoel at Quick-Step, contributing to a differing atmosphere and team goals.

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