Remco Evenpoel is gearing up for an incredibly significant season in his career in which he will make his debut at the Tour de France, and the Belgian is currently working on tuning every fine detail before his season starts in Portugal on February 10.
The reigning time trial world champion knows that maximising his advantage against the watch will be pivotal to his prospects against two-time Tour winners Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) in July.
Time trials will be significant at this year’s Tour with a flat and fast TT on stage 7 followed by a brutal, hilly race against the clock on the final stage from Monaco to Nice.
It’s the first time that the Tour will finish with a time trial since 1989 Tour, when Greg LeMond snatched victory from Laurent Fignon in Paris.
Evenepoel visited the wind tunnel at Milan’s Politecnico university on Monday with technical staff from his team Soudal-QuickStep and their clothing provider Castelli to fine-tune details ahead of the European season.
Soudal Quick-Step said the world champion’s primary focus while there was to “test different apparel options, including skinsuits and shoe covers, and some helmet options for both road and time trial use.”
Due to his uber-aggressive position and ability to cut through the wind with such a small profile, Evenepoel requires exact, custom requirements to his setup to ensure the maximum performance is extracted.
“Remco is a unique challenge because his position is so compact and aerodynamic that most of the solutions that work for other riders don’t give the same result with Remco,” said Castelli’s race division manager, Alvin Nordell.
“We’re at the level where the top riders need customized solutions. Fortunately, Remco has always recognized the importance of this work and dedicates a lot of time to testing and improving.”
Evenepoel won three individual time trials in 2023, claiming two at the Giro d’Italia before he abandoned due to COVID-19 and then winning the world title in Scotland.
At his high standards, he’ll want to improve on that in 2024 ahead of the Tour, with likely close rivals Vingegaard, Pogačar and Primož Roglič (Bora-Hansgrohe) all more than capable against the clock. Roglič is the Olympic champion in the discipline and the Vingegaard won the only time trial at the 2023 Tour by more than 1:30.
“The time that we spend in the wind tunnel and the data that we receive from it are invaluable….