An evening with Sep Vanmarcke

Last Monday I went to an event at the Rapha pop up with Sep Vanmarcke of EF Education First . First part was an interview with a local jotnalist followed by a questions from the audience .

First impression. He’s a big fella 6’2” and around 80kg a reminder that classics riders are a breed apart from grand tour riders.

Second impression, he is a genuinely nice bloke, thoughtful, very articulate in what is at best his second language (English) and also modest, or rather well aware of his own position in the sport, at one point it was suggested that he had plenty of time lest to win Paris- Roubaix as Gilbert won this year at the age of 38.”but Gilbert is a great, I’m good but nowhere near that”;was the reply.

Perhaps the most interesting observation was that in the last 5 years Everyone is training harder and to the same level, as a consequence it is harder to split the peloton in a race. Linked to this he is for power meters in training but against them in races, because everyone just rides to the numbers and there is no instinct anymore.

His preference for the new finish in RVV over the old is connected to this, as 5he new end is harder and therefore better for splitting the group.

He was courted by quickstep 3 years ago but felt he was “an option” whereas Vaughters made clear that he was the man they wanted. Yes he might have won more but he chose to have more control over what he raced outside of the classics season.

On the Tour de France: he has done it 5 times but it is not a race he likes, I’m not built for it”. However, it is the only race he is ever asked about by non-cycling fans and therefore a “MUst do” at least once.

Ohh and obviously he thinks his new Rapha kit is the best he’s worn.

And for @Dogtrousers , yes he maintains it was a mechanical at à Roubaix that did for him.

My question was “On a scale of 1-10 how scary is Charly Wegelius?” Apparently he is a good bloke who tells it straight and who makes the hard choices when he has to. On this Vanmarcke did give the impression of being a bit corporate. Vaughters is doing a similar event just before Le Tour starts i’ll Try and ask him the same.


We’ve been following Vanmarcke since we saw him finish 2nd in Paris-Roubaix on the first occasion we saw the race live.

It seems that he’s had more than his fair share of bad luck since.
He said that after that P-R lots of people said “don’t worry you will win a few of these” and he still hasn’t. He reckons he has perhaps 3-4 years left to win Flanders and a couple more for P-R.

He was asked about Bettiol’s Flanders win and he was again a bit corporate in his reply, good for the team, we did a good job etc, but he did have a bit of a wistful look as he said it.

Interestingly he thinks that Bettiol will win a few more, “ he will not win a lot of races by the will win good races”

On van Aert, “ he was less of a surprise this year, he will get better but it will be incremental rather than bit leaps.”

And here is one to think about: MVDP will be better than Sagan,” look at what he has done this year, incredible.”
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