Remco Evenepoel declares to share leadership with the sprinters’ “risk division” in the future switch to the yellow jersey

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Remco Evenepoel says winning the Tour de France is the “ultimate dream”, but made no secret that he wants the whole team to work for him once he has his sights set on the French grand tour.

Evenepoel won the crystal fiets trophy overnight as Belgium’s top male rider – Lotte Kopecky won the women’s award – and hinted a return to the Giro d’Italia could be on his radar for 2023.

“The ‘mission’ of the Tour de France will now be a priority. One day I want to win there too. It’s the ultimate dream,” Evenepoel said. Het Laatste Nieuws. “That doesn’t rule out an intermediate station in 2023. So far the Giro d’Italia is looking very good.”

Evenepoel has played down any kind of potential conflict between its grand tour ambitions and the presence of top sprinters Fabio Jakobsen and Tim Merlier, who joins Quick-Step for 2023.

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With squad rosters now set at eight starters, however, many teams targeting the GC are leaving sprinters on the sidelines, but Evenepoel insists there is room for everyone throughout the season. season, at least for next year.

Evenepoel was quick to add that while the team is aiming for overall victory in a grand tour, he prefers not to divide forces between a GC push and the demands of a sprinter train.

“Yes. I like that better. Otherwise you risk division,” Evenepoel said of the grand tour leadership. “That also applies to a sprinter, who deserves a solid lead with at least two riders. So the combination becomes difficult, doesn’t it? Fabio and I get along well, and in a regular race I like being part of his sprint train, but in a grand tour it’s different.

Evenepoel is adamant when he finally takes on the challenge of the Tour, he wants the whole team to work for him.

“Of course, I will have to take into account our two sprinters when choosing a grand tour. But actually we can divide it cleanly,” Evenepoel said for 2023. “You could say me for the Giro, Fabio for the Tour and Tim for the Vuelta.

Teams are awaiting the final details of the routes for next season’s three grand tours, with the Giro and Tour routes due to be unveiled this month.

Team boss Patrick Lefevere does not want to take Evenepoel directly into a duel with Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingaard next season on the Tour, especially with the promise of strengthening the team to better support Evenepoel in the big tours of 2024.

Evenepoel has confirmed that he will only participate in one grand tour next season.

Looking ahead to next season, Evenepoel said he would likely copy what worked so well in 2022, when he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Clásica San Sebastián, the Vuelta a España and the world championships. on road.

“In the spring, I’ll be doing a limited schedule again, scheduling training camps and working on climbing and time trials,” he said. “In fact, I can now copy-paste my Vuelta preparation every year, because it worked well.”

Evenepoel says 2022 “will not be easy to repeat”

Evenepoel says 2022 will be hard to repeat. (Photo: DAVID STOCKMAN/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Evenepoel was celebrated overnight at a gala as the best Belgian male rider, which he won for the second time in his young career.

With Belgium’s first grand tour win since the 1970s and the first rainbow jersey in a decade, he usurped Wout van Aert for the annual award he has won for the past two seasons.

Evenepoel said he wanted to savor his success this season as he admitted it will be difficult to replicate.

“I won the Vuelta, but I think the world championships tipped the scales and brought me back the Kristallen Fiets after three years. To be named the best male rider in my country is special and unique, something for which I’m grateful, so I want to take advantage of this moment, because it won’t be easy to repeat 2022,” Evenepoel said. “I had a great year and I think it’s victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège which changed everything and gave me motivation and strength for the second part of the season which was incredible.

“For next season, the main objective will be to continue to evolve and to continue to progress with the team, but it is first of all the vacation time, which I am looking forward to before returning to my bike”, Evenepoel said.

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