The Giro d’Italia will be Remco Evenepoel’s only Grand Tour in 2023, according to Soudal Quick-Step team manager Patrick Lefevere. The Belgian had to leave the Giro while wearing the pink jersey after winning the time trial over Geraint Thomas earlier that day. He had tested positive for COVID-19 during a routine test before the first rest day.
“I am really sorry to be leaving the race. As part of the team’s protocol, I took a routine test, which unfortunately was positive. My experience here has been really special, and I was looking forward to competing over the next two weeks. I can’t thank enough the staff and the riders who sacrificed so much in preparation for the Giro. I will be cheering them on over the next two weeks,” he said on May 14.
Remco Evenepoel called Geraint Thomas to say he was quitting the Giro d’Italia
The news meant that the World Champion would be forced to “recalibrate his program in the weeks to come,” according to RTBF. Many had hoped that Evenepoel would recover from the virus in time to battle in the Tour de France alongside Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard.
No Tour de France for Evenepoel
On Saturday, Soudal Quick-Step team manager Patrick Lefevere was quite clear about that possibility. “No, Remco is not going to the Tour. That wouldn’t be very smart either,” Lefevere said to RTBF. “It is important that he now fully recuperates. We will test his health and then see how he can continue his planning.” Lefevere said that Evenepoel tested negative for COVID-19 on Thursday, according to Het Nieuwsblad.
Remco Evenepoel chartered a helicopter off Campo Imperatore and the UCI is not happy
“For the first time, he tested negative. We, therefore, think that he has been ill for a total of five days,” said Lefevere. Despite that, jumping into the Tour is still too risky and not a wise move, he believes.
“If he does not shine there, many will shoot him with bazookas.”
No Vuelta a España for Evenepoel, either
Evenepoel, the defending champion of the Vuelta a España, will not return for the 2023 edition.
“Remco has already won the Vuelta a España. So no one would accept any other outcome from him. Moreover, it would again require quite heavy and very specific preparation,” Lefevere said to Het Nieuwsblad.
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