Few riders can dream of attaining the rostrum at their Excursion de France debut, however few riders have had the similar meteoric upward thrust to the highest as Remco Evenpoel.
The Belgian has a top-three spot in his points of interest for a highly-anticipated debut on the Excursion in July, however his marketing campaign to get there starts at Saturday’s Figueira Champions Vintage in Portugal, the place he’ll glance to “take a victory as fast as imaginable.”
Evenepoel’s pre-race press convention for his Portuese block of racing noticed him position the Excursion above some other purpose, with Paris-Great, the Ardennes Classics and the Olympics additionally recognized as primary goals.
“There are such a large amount of objectives, however a dream coming true for this 12 months is to be at the podium in Great,” mentioned Evenepoel to media together with Cyclingnews.
“The spot does not subject simply to be at the podium in Great, that may be a dream come true.”
He’ll have a star-studded get started record in his approach come July with protecting champion Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Hire a Motorbike), two-time Excursion winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Group Emirates) and four-time Grand Excursion champion Primož Roglič (Bora-Hansgrohe) additionally chasing the maillot jaune in a matchup for the ages.
However the younger guy has already accomplished good things within the game at best 24 so who’s to mention he received’t be able when the Excursion begins on June 29 in Florence?
There isn’t an early face-off in Portugal for Evenepoel with both of the trio discussed, however the Vuelta winner who succeeded him, Sepp Kuss will likely be on the Volta ao Algarve and greater than trying out him up the race-deciding Alto da Fóia and Alto do Malhāo climbs.
The 24-year-old isn’t shying clear of his large competitors, on the other hand, relishing that he’ll most likely be racing Roglič at Paris-Great in March and provisionally each the Slovenian and closing 12 months’s Excursion winner Vingegaard on the pre-Excursion Critérium du Dauphiné.
“Needless to say, we will be able to see every different in Dauphiné after which 3 weeks within the excursion. So it is already somewhat a protracted duration that we that we will be able to race all in combination,” mentioned Evenepoel.
“It is all the time excellent to have them within the races the place I can take the starting point.”
The Figueira Champions Vintage would be the first check for the Belgian champion on an “explosive” 222km direction from São Pedro to Figueira da Foz. Evenepoel must navigate 4 laps of a hilly circuit, that includes class one and two climbs, across the coastal town if he’s to begin his 2024 season with a victory.
It’s the 5 days of racing within the Algarve that he’s extra taking a look ahead to relating to how it’ll get the legs into equipment. Evenepoel began 2023 on the UAE Excursion whilst in 2022 he opted for racing in Valenciana after which the Portuguese area in what was once his best possible season to this point with the street Global Championships and Vuelta a España name. So it’s no marvel to peer him again.
“It is all the time somewhat explosive racing right here in Portugal. Within the Algarve, they all the time have an entire degree race, flat phases, a little extra hilly phases after which the correct, let’s consider, a semi-mountain degree with [Alto de] Foia (7.5km at 6%).
“In order that’s why I in reality like Algarve. It is a beautiful quick race relating to days. However I believe ceaselessly or nearly each season, I got here out with higher form than I went into the race.”
Partnership with Landa and gravel on the Excursion
It’s going to even be the primary alternative to peer Evenepoel race together with his new teammate and most likely super-domestique for the Excursion de France, Mikel Landa.
“I believe we will be able to use this particularly to get to grasp every different within the race,” Evenepoel mentioned.
“We all know every different from different groups, however we don’t blindly understand how to understand how someone feels or precisely the instant when he feels excellent or no longer. That is an important [thing] this week, to in reality get to grasp every different.
“If some of the two has a little of a nasty day, we will be able to empty our legs for the opposite one. I believe it is going to be a lovely simple partnership in combination.”
It’s been an extended low season for the time trial Global Champion with 5 weeks off the motorbike and a large number of time to arrange for the season forward which felt “somewhat bizarre” for Evenepoel however he admitted “it was once in reality very essential” with the large objectives he has in thoughts.
With the Excursion in his points of interest, Evenepoel did project over to France against the top of 2023 to recon one of the vital phases in “secret” that can be pivotal come July. The 25km degree 7 time trial from Nuits-Saint-Georges to Gevrey-Chambertin and the arguable gravel degree 9 beginning and completing in Troyes specifically.
However for Evenepoel, it wasn’t as divisive as it should have gave the impression when introduced with the direction no longer being overly “technical”. Ineos Grenadiers and Visma-Hire a Motorbike have additionally already been to Troyes to take a look at the gravel roads.
“The gravel degree is most definitely, for the outdoor global, going to seem extra loopy than it in reality is,” Evenepoel mentioned.
“The degree itself isn’t in reality technical. The sectors don’t seem to be bad. I believe it is one thing that everyone must pay attention to, that there’s gravel, however it is not anything not anything particular.
“Needless to say we must be cautious with no longer shedding silly time there however I believe it is a very stunning degree and I in reality benefit from the recons up there.”