Remco Evenepoel says he would be ‘more comfortable’ without all the attention that comes with his potential.
The 19-year-old has become an almost overnight star having joined Deceuninck – Quick-Step at such a young age.
Evenepoel, the junior road race and time trial world champion, has been one of the big stories of 2019, after he skipped the under-23 category to join the WorldTour team.
Having been dubbed by some as the next Eddy Merckx, the Belgian has reflected on the attention he has received.
He told cycling news site Wielerflits: “I’ll remain calm, but I must admit that I would be more comfortable if I could prepare myself for races without all the attention.
“Sometimes it bothers me. I know journalists are doing their job, and of course I will speak to them out of respect.
“But sometimes I read things about me that make me wonder ‘was that really supposed to go in the newspaper’.”
Evenepoel dominated the junior ranks, taking victory in 23 of the 35 races he entered last season, including the double at the Worlds.
He is off to an exciting start in 2019, finishing third in the individual time trial of the Vuelta a San Juan and taking victory in the youth classification.
Having held his own amongst some of the best in the world on the first mountain of the UAE Tour, he abandoned the Middle East stage race after a crash on stage four.
Evenepoel will make his professional debut on home soil on Wednesday (March 20), where he will race Nokere Koerse.
He said: “I’m currently getting the attention my team-mates deserve.
“Julian Alaphilippe, for example, already has six victories in his pocket. He deserves that attention much more.
“I haven’t done anything as a pro.
“I’m only 19 and still fully engaged in the learning process.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports direct Rik Van Slycke echoed Evenpoel’s thoughts on the pressure.
Van Slycke said it’s “unbelievable” how many interview requests the team receives, and that the attention is similar to that once given to fellow Belgian Tom Boonen.