Evenepoel was forced out of the 2023 Giro d’Italia due to COVID-19 and so could be tempted to return next season to try to win the maglia rosa before making his debut at the Tour, perhaps without ambitions of overall victory.
A Giro-Tour combination would be especially tough in 2024, with Evenepoel keen to target Liege-Bastogne-Liege in late April and then the time trial in the Paris Olympics after the Tour de France.
“Remco sat around the table yesterday with his directeur sportif Klaas Lodewyck and coach Koen Pelgrim to discuss his plans,” Lefevere told Sporza and other Flemish media at the route presentation in Paris.
“He still has an account open with the Giro and he was considering combining the Tour and the Giro. But with what comes next, with the Olympic Games for example, the Giro-Tour combination does not seem to be the best idea to me.”
Evenepoel was not in Paris for the route presentation as he prepares to take a holiday and enjoy his off-season following an intense 2023 season. He seems determined to make his Tour de France debut in 2024, with Soudal-QuickStep ready to back his ambitions.
The two time trials suit the current world champion but the high climbs and tough final week in the Alps could test his endurance. Lefevere warned against expecting too much from his 23-year-old team leader.
“In his first Tour, Remco doesn’t have to do anything, everything is allowed,” the Belgian team manager suggested.
“The time trials are in Evenepoel’s favour but I’m sure Jonas Vingegaard liked them too. It’s a tough Tour. I think it’s a very difficult Tour, more difficult than this year and one of the most difficult in recent years.”
Lefevere warned that the battle for the yellow jersey could explode as early as stage 4 over the Col du Galibier in the Alps and continue all the way to the final Nice time trial.
“I think the Tour can be decided on the fourth stage even if that’s unlikely. The Tour ends in Nice but the current riders in the peloton fight with an open mind and always go for it,” Lefevere suggested.
Soudal-QuickStep’s eight-rider squad will probably be built around Evenepoel, with no place for sprinter Tim Merlier, and new signing Mikel Landa certain to be on board, while Julian Alaphilippe is likely to ride alongside Evenepoel if he…