Remco Evenepoel has as good as extended his contract with Deceuninck - Quick-Step until 2022.
Team boss Patrick Lefevere says the new European time trial champion had signed a two year contract this winter with an option to extend it by a further two years, with Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reporting this extension has now been made official.
"He signed this winter for two + two years," said Lefevere, " and that last period [2021 and 2022] is now officially added to his contract."
However, Lefevere's cautious words suggest there is still a chance that Evenepoel could head elsewhere at the end of the 2020 season.
"The deal was already on paper and is now sealed with a handshake," said Lefevere. "A word is sacred to me and I am sure that Remco and his family will not break their word."
When asked what would happen if Evenepoel did walk away from the contract extension, Lefevere laughed: "Then I finish Remco on the spot."
The 19-year-old has been touted as a future star for a while and properly announced himself this August, winning the Clásica San Sebastián, his first ever senior classics ride, as well as taking the European time trial title, beating Danish team-mate Kasper Asgreen by 19 seconds.
Despite having prepared for a move to Monaco, home to many pro cyclists including Geraint Thomas (Ineos) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Evenepoel will now also consider Andorra as a potential new residency at the request of his team.
Two reasons for this suggestion are that Julian Alaphilippe currently resides there and the altitude would remove the need for Evenepoel to partake in altitude training.
"Monaco is of course sexy," said Lefevere. "But we will also take a look in Andorra, together with Julian Alaphilippe [who already lives there]. In Andorra you sleep at 1,800 metres, which is a big advantage. Remco would then no longer have to do altitude training. "
Next up for Evenepoel, in what has been his breakout season, are the two Canadian one-day races, the GP de Québec and the GP de Montréal, with the Belgian also slated to participate in the Tour of Germany at the end of September.
In other transfer news for the Belgian team, Spanish climber Enric Mas has left for Movistar, while Alaphilippe signed a new two-year deal in June to extend his stay with the squad until 2021.
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