Big challenges of the cycling season: the most important summer in Remco Evenepoel's career

Spread less. Prioritize quality over quantity. At the end of a busy 2023 and shaken by Covid that forced him to withdraw from the Tour of Italy and change his plans for the rest of the season, Remco Evenepoel said he will be more selective in 2024.

This is true, but not to a great extent. He will do fewer high altitude courses – he should only do one, before the Tour de France. And, as far as the competition is concerned, it will reduce the sailing a bit. The leader of the Soudal Quick-Step team completed 68 days of racing in 2023. If he is correct in his predictions, he will have 57 days on the eve of the World Championships in Zurich.

Remco Evenepoel had a total of 68 race days in 2023. He should have 57 in 2024.

The fact remains that his summer menu promises to be very plentiful. “I'm betting a lot on this summer. The month of July will be crucial for me, perhaps the most important in my career”, assures. It is true that he will tackle the two challenges that have haunted him since he gave up football in 2017 to take up cycling: the Tour de France and the Olympics. “In cycling, the Grande Boucle is what every racer dreams of, it's the holy grailhe slips. As for the Olympics, I've always been very attached to them.” Out of love for the Olympic term, this perfectionist isolated himself for several weeks to prepare for the Tokyo Games three years ago. But the Brabant phenomenon put too much pressure on himself and entered the Olympics in a state of mental fatigue. “I also went too long without running”he will say after the 9th place in the time trial won by Primož Roglić.

Seagull

Remco is a year ahead of our plan. We won't ask him to win the Tour.

This time he will just come off a big tour, and the most prestigious of the three. After winning the Vuelta in 2022 and winning three stages in 2023, Evenepoel will open the Tour without finishing a single Giro (dropouts after the 2021 crash and Covid in 2023). What Patrick Lefevere, CEO of Soudal Quick-Step claims. “Therefore, Remco is one year ahead of our plan. We will not ask him to win the Tour.” Well-versed in the art of announcing XXL goals, the world chrono champion approaches the Tour de France this time with reasonable ambition. “If I can make the final top 5, that will be great. But first of all I want to win a stage, just to be able to say that I won three grand tours. At only 24 years old, that wouldn't be bad, right?”

With a status he has acquired through numerous victories and a temperament as ambitious as it is extroverted, Remco Evenepoel's every action during the three weeks he will spend in France will be analyzed and dissected from all angles. And even if he claims that Tadej Pogačar, Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic are stronger than him in principle, we know that he will do everything to be their fury. “If I can catch one of the three, I'll reach the second level.”

Remco Evenepoel after his latest victory at the Tour of the Algarve: “I give myself an 8 out of 10 for this Portuguese week”

He is aiming for two medals at the Olympics

Six days after the end of this tour in Nice, he will take part in the Olympic time trial, before seeking the title of road champion a week later. “The routes of the two races suit meassures. My goal in Paris will be to win two medals.”

If he manages to reach the podium twice after finishing in the top 5 at the Tour, Evenepoel will have the perfect summer. And completely calm souls will be able to access the world championship.

Current holder of the rainbow jersey of a solitary effort after the crowning in Glasgow, the bulimic Remco could be seen reclaiming global laurels, at the end of the road race, two years after his leader from Wollongong. And it doesn't matter that many other runners have the same goal…

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