Patrick Lefevere: I’d want Evenepoel to focus on Giro d’Italia earlier than preventing Pogaçar at Tour de France

The mud hasn’t even settled on the Vuelta a España however Remco Evenepoel’s grand tour future is already producing debate with crew boss Patrick Lefevere suggesting {that a} tilt on the 2023 Giro d’Italia may very well be subsequent.

“I’m nonetheless coming to phrases with what the child did,” Lefevere informed VeloNews.

“Initially of the race we mentioned publicly it was a couple of top-ten however internally we thought possibly a top-five and even podium for him however the win is one thing else. Every little thing went smoother than we thought, however he deserved it.”

Additionally learn: Is that this the beginning of the “reign of Remco”?

For Lefevere it was Evenepoel’s all-round capacity and maturity that stood out over the Spanish grand tour. The younger Belgian was competing in solely his second three-week race as a professional rider, together with his first try on the 2021 Giro d’Italia ending with a DNF. On the Vuelta he gained two phases and by no means seemed again after shifting into the general lead on stage 6.

“When you win a grand tour it’s about every little thing,” Lefevere mentioned. “To begin with, his time trial was wonderful. Within the first week when he dropped everybody with out actually attacking, however by simply dashing up and dashing up, that was spectacular. Everybody mentioned he couldn’t do it on the steep climbs however he did.

“He was additionally sturdy within the head.

“We have been unfortunate to lose Pieter Serry and Julian Alaphilippe. We don’t have to cover that Julian was essential for Remco as a result of they praise one another very nicely, and he listens to Julian. When Julian crashed it was a tragic second for Remco, and when you look again at historical past everybody was saying that we have been a pleasant crew, however a classics squad, and never a grand tour one. However we gained with 5 riders and Remco.”

Constructing for the longer term

During the last couple of weeks Lefevere has been questioned within the Belgian press almost about the power in depth at Fast-Step, in addition to the crew’s long-term imaginative and prescient relating to supporting Evenepoel’s grand tour plans. The crew coped remarkably nicely through the Vuelta contemplating its relative inexperience and the lack of two riders however Lefevere admits that over the approaching years extra grand tour domestiques will likely be required.

For 2023 it appears to be like as if Lefevere’s fingers are tied within the switch market. He already picked up Tim Merlier to switch the departing Mark Cavendish however in twelve months time the Belgian crew boss can have a a lot clearer canvas relating to developing a crew.

“Sadly we solely have 5 riders out of contact this yr and we knew that Iljo Keisse was stopping so it was tough. From 2024 onwards we will transfer and try to get one or two extra sturdy riders. Remco’s weak spot in the intervening time is relating to preventing within the bunch for place. They mentioned he can’t descend however he can descend. He can do every little thing however preventing relating to a bunch dash and never having to drag for himself, so he has to have a rider round him. I feel that we now have a superb one in Mattia Cattaneo however he had dangerous luck this yr, getting COVID twice. He was eleventh final yr within the Tour, did the leadouts for Cavendish and he’s received a superb TT. Subsequent yr I feel he might help Remco quite a bit.”

The important thing query when seeking to subsequent season surrounds Evenepoel’s subsequent transfer. Having conquered the Vuelta on the tender age of twenty-two, is he able to tackle the likes of Tadej Pogaçar and Jonas Vingegaard on the Tour de France in 2023?

“I’m not Madame Soleil. I noticed that Pogaçar gained in Montreal and in a giant method so he’s in fine condition once more,” Lefevere mentioned. “Everybody is aware of he’s a brilliant expertise however when the time is true we’ll try to struggle in opposition to them. But when it’s right down to me then I’d say let’s go one after the other, so Vuelta, then Giro after which Tour. If it’s right down to me then subsequent yr it might be the Giro.”

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