By Jonny Long
Remco Evenepoel has been given the green light by his team to aim for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Deceuninck - Quick-Step rider has wanted to make the Games in 2020 a goal of his and has now received the blessing to do so from his team boss Patrick Lefevere.
"If he wants to go to the Games, he can do it. He is still young and in full development," said Lefevere. "He must be given the chance to grow. We will not put a spoke in the wheels."
Evenepoel will be looking to ride the time trial, which will take place on 29 July, with the road race held a few days before.
Part of the reason for Evenepoel being allowed to go to the Olympics, despite the preparation needed to accommodate for the time difference and climate, is because it will fit neatly into his schedule, partly as Lefevere has deemed the 19-year-old too young to go to the Tour de France.
"Remco will be only 20 years old next year, too early to go to the Tour de France. He will therefore be free to prepare for the Games," Lefevere told Het Laatste Nieuws.
The 2020 Tour de France will start a week earlier than usual, in order to avoid a clash with the Olympics and allow more riders to be able to ride the Tour and then make the 6,000 mile journey over to Japan in time to compete.
After a breakout 2019 where Evenepoel won his first classic at the Clásica San Sebastián, as well as becoming the new European time trial champion, the young Belgian has as good as extended his contract with Deceuninck - Quick-Step until 2022.
Team boss Patrick Lefevere said the young Belgian had signed a two year contract this winter with an option to extend it by a further two years, which has now been "sealed with a handshake".
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Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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