Deceuninck – Quick-Step promises to keep its new budding 18-year-old star Remco Evenepoel “humble” as the 2019 season unfolds.
The Belgian is the youngest rider in the 2019 peloton, turning professional directly from the junior ranks. In 2018, he won all four stage races he entered, the World Championship time trial by over a minute and soloed away from his rivals with 20 kilometres remaining for the road title two days later.
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“We have 50 employees for 25 riders. Everyone will help him to stay humble,” team boss Patrick Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad.
“He is an only child, from a warm family. I see a parallel with Johan Museeuw and Tom Boonen there. Like Remco, they also have fathers who, due to circumstances, missed out on careers as a cyclist. They are extra worried that their son is not the same.”
With his 23 wins in 2018, teams were fighting to sign Evenepoel even as a junior. He signed for his country’s top team, but that meant even greater pressure on a young man’s shoulders.
“[His parents] were a little panicked: what is happening? I reassured them, said that we will take good care of him,” said Lefevere.
“This year we want to bring Remco in quietly, especially do not blow him up.”
Remco will race the Vuelta a San Juan later this month and with Chris Froome and other stars, the UAE Tour in February. Already in the Emirates, he says wants to compete in the mountains.
“It is good that he sets clear goals,” Lefevere explained. “He also says to me: Argentina will come too early, but in the UAE Tour, I want to be there. Knowing what you want is of course something different than doing what you want.”
The team met with the press on Tuesday in Spain. Evenepoel stood alongside star riders including Philippe Gilbert, Julian Alaphilippe and Elia Viviani.
“I still have so much to learn, I need to become so much stronger. I’m not even familiar with the pros, or the way to race,” Evenepoel said.
“There is a lot [of attention], but I’m not thinking about that. Even if it is nice that there is so much attention, that means that you have already achieved something.”