Remco Evenepoel will make his Monument debut at Il Lombardia, his Deceuninck – Quick-Step team have revealed.
The 20-year-old Belgian will be on the start line for the Italian one-day race on August 15, which will be his third UCI race back after the coronavirus break.
Evenepoel will first be part of Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Vuelta a Burgos squad, starting on July 28, before also taking part in the Tour de Pologne a week later.
Having already won two stage races in the Vuelta a San Juan and Volta ao Algarve this year, Evenepoel says the pressure is mostly off for now, as his main goals for the season come later on in the revised calendar.
“It will be my first time in Poland and I look forward to it,” Evenepoel said. “I will start the Tour de Pologne without any pressure. I have already proven that I can compete for the win in this kind of stage race. Also, my main goals are later in the season. But we’ll see how I feel and if the opportunity presents itself, I won’t waste it. If I feel really good, I could still go for a stage win or the GC. I don’t have to prove myself but I always expect a lot from myself.”
Having won every race he’s turned up for in 2020 so far, Evenepoel’s confidence is not misplaced, and he says he will try to go to Il Lombardia in “peak condition”. The Italian Monument will be his second-ever WorldTour one-day race, having won his first at Clásica San Sebastian last August.
“I will try to be in peak condition by then,” Evenepoel said. “It’s a beautiful and prestigious race. We’ve already been talking about it with the team. We’ll have a strong line-up as it will be very tough. If I have to compare it to a race I’ve already done, I’d say the Clasica San Sebastian, but I expect it to be even tougher.
“The weather will be crucial this year with temperatures that could easily rise up to 30 degrees. It doesn’t really scare me, I think I can handle the heath, but the combination of high temperatures, fluid loss, technical descents and a demanding parcours will make it a hard race. After all, that’s why it’s a Monument.”
After that, the European time trial champion will turn out for a race against the clock at his national championships, before defending his European champion’s jersey in Trento, Italy, in September.
Then it will be time for his first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, and an opening time trial on October 3 will give Evenepoel the chance to take his first Grand Tour leader’s jersey.