Remco Evenepoel wasn’t able to follow the favourites very early on the queen stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, but Patrick Lefevere does not want to make a drama.
“They will probably never become Remco’s best friends (steep climbs). He keeps questioning himself and everything he does, handles the situation very well and has one thing in mind: to keep working hard.”
According to Lefevere, Evenepoel’s performance in Tirreno-Adriatico has clarified a lot.
“The fact that Remco lost uphill is considered by many to be an eighth wonder of the world. But hey, he will have to let go more often in his life. The fact is: anyone who makes him ‘the new Merckx’ has been grossly mistaken in person. Not him, but Tadej Pogacar is ‘the new Merckx’. That’s clear now, I think.”
“Let Remco Evenepoel just be Remco Evenepoel”, says Lefevere. “Whether there is a strong classic one-day racer in him, rather than a (Grand) Tour rider? That will have to be choppy. But what if he is also dropped in the Flèche Walloon and Liège-Bastogne-Liège? What are they going to make of it then? A fairground rider…?”
The Quick-Step team manager concludes that it is sometimes forgotten that his rider, who is in his fourth year as a professional, is still only 22 years old.
“Because of the rapid breakthroughs of other young talents. They are certainly not all Bernals or Pogacars. Let us calm down and discover where we met Remco. We are patient. Hopefully you too.”
Evenepoel finished 11th in Tirreno-Adriatico, more than 4 minutes behind overall winner Pogacar. After an altitude training camp, he resumes competition with the Tour of the Basque Country, which starts on April 4.