Remco Evenpoel should turn his attention to cyclocross, according to Belgian great Roger De Vlaeminck.
Evenpoel, the 20-year-old rising star of Belgian cycling, looks set to dominate on the road in the coming years after a staggering debut season in 2019.
The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider already has 10 victories to his name, including the European time trial title, Clásica San Sebastián and the overall at the Volta ao Algarve.
But Classics legend De Vlaeminck believes Evenepoel should join the likes of Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert in cyclocross to really fulfil his potential.
In an interview with Belgian media, the De Vlaeminck said: “Remco Evenepoel, who is now being praised everywhere, is a good one – you can see that.
“If he wants to move forward, he should become a cyclocross rider.”
De Vlaeminck, who is now in good health after he was in intensive care last year, pointed to Van der Poel and Van Aert as stand-out riders on the road, saying he thinks they owe a lot of their success to their off-road backgrounds.
He added: “Crossers are much more skilful. I’ve never fallen in my entire career and I learned that in cyclocross.”
Evenepoel will make his Grand Tour debut this season at the delayed Giro d’Italia, with some believing he is capable of winning on his debut.
De Vlaeminck said: “Evenepoel is certainly not too young to win. It never depends on age, remember that.
“You have to be that good – it’s that simple. You have to be Messi, but on a bike.”
In his last year as a junior in 2018, Evenepoel won 23 of the 35 races he entered including the remarkable double at the Worlds.
Skipping the under-23 ranks, Evenepoel joined Belgian WorldTour squad Quick-Step last year and quickly lived up to the hype.
Alongside his victories, Evenepoel also finished second in the World Championships time trial on his debut in the elite event, finishing around 70 seconds behind winner Rohan Dennis.