In January, Lionel Birnie travelled to Calpe in Spain for the team launch of the 2019 Deceuninck-Quick Step squad. The following morning he sat down with the team’s boss, Patrick Lefevere, who has been in management for almost four decades and has built a team that has become a prolific winning machine.

Philippe Gilbert’s victory in Paris-Roubaix last weekend was the team’s 700th in total. Last year alone, they won 73 races. And if they carry on winning at the same rate this season they will surpass that total.

In this conversation, we learn about Lefevere’s short professional career and why he decided to call it a day mid-season when he was only 24 years old, about his progression through the ranks from assistant directeur sportif to the top boss of a team that has dominated the Classics but has failed to make the same impact on the Grand Tours. Lefevere talks about the illness he survived against the odds, how he never raises his voice and how long he hopes to continue before deciding the time is right to retire.