Patrick Lefevere has called 19-year-old Remco Evenepoel “too fat.”
The outspoken Deceuninck – Quick-Step boss was blunt about the young revelation, who turned pro at the start of the 2019 season.
Evenepoel, the current junior road race and time trial world champion, has been making waves at WorldTour level, but Lefevere says he still needs to improve.
In the first summit finish of his pro career at the UAE Tour, Evenepoel finished 15th ahead of the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), but was visibly disappointed after the stage.
Lefevere told Belgian new site Humo: “I will tell you something, Remco is too fat.
“He was disappointed [about the UAE]. He does not say so, but I saw him sitting on a bench and I have been in the business long enough to know that I should leave him alone.
The 64-year-old team boss said that Evenepoel is currently four kilograms too heavy but is “working hard.”
Evenepoel finished third in the individual time trial at the Vuelta a San Juan in January, going on to take the youth classification.
He crashed out of the UAE Tour on stage four and raced in Belgium for the first time at Nokere Koerse.
The next big tests for the Belgian star are now the Tour of Turkey and the Tour de Romandie in April.
Evenepoel’s revelatory performances at junior level have made him a star in Belgium, with all the pressure that follows.
He recently admitted he would be more comfortable preparing for races without the attention.
In his final year at the junior level Evenepoel won 23 of the 35 races he entered, giving him the opportunity to skip the under-23 category and move straight to a WorldTour team.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Rik Van Slycke echoed Evenepoel’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.