Remco Evenepoel says he wants to lose two kilograms before his first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia.
The Belgian, winner of two stage races already this year, made the comments after the boss of his Deceuninck – Quick-Step team has mentioned Evenepoel’s weight on multiple occasions in the press.
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Evenepoel has opened his 2020 with an explosion of outstanding performances, including the overall at the Vuelta a San Juan, as well as two stages of the Volta ao Algarve and the general classification, and has even more ambitious plans for the rest of the year.
In an interview with cycling website Wielerflits, the 20-year-old said: “I have learned not to peak too quickly and to pay attention to my weight too. I can focus hard on that.”
He added that he wants to lose a kilogram in the lead-up to Tirreno-Adriatico in March, and then drop a second kilogram by the Giro in May.
According to Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Evenepoel weighs 61kg and is 171cm (or five foot, six inches) tall.
In March last year, during Evenepoel’s debut WorldTour season, Lefevere called the then-19-year-old “too fat” in an interview with Belgian media, adding he thought the rider was four kilograms too heavy.
Then in February this year, as Evenepoel was on his way to victory in Portugal, Lefevere told the press that Evenepoel still needs to lose two kilograms.
Evenepoel will make his Grand Tour debut at the Giro later this year and then plans to target the Olympic time trial and road race, before turning his attention to the final Monument of the year, Il Lombardia in the autumn.
There has been an increased focus on the mental health affects in cycling because of weight after with Jani Brajkovič revealing he had been dealing with his own unhealthy relationship with food and a diet expert recently warning that she had seen an increase in cyclists with eating disorders.
Dennis said he had dropped down to 68kg from his ideal time trial weight of 70-71kg before the 2019 World Championships in Yorkshire, where he claimed a second consecutive TT title. He says he took diet supplements creatine and whey protein to get back up to weight.
Chris Froome, the Team Ineos leader and four-time Tour de France winner, recently revealed some of the pressure a Grand Tour rider faces when it comes to diet.
Reflecting on his eight month lay-off due to injury, Froome said: “To be honest, it wasn’t that hard [keeping the weight down]. I think given that I wasn’t riding my bike every day, or exercising that much every day, I didn’t have the same kind of cravings I would normally have.
“Riding six hours a day you’re just starving all the time, starving day and night. For the first time in ages I just wasn’t that hungry.”