The Deceuninck – Quick-Step duo are racing together for the first time in the Middle East
Young British talent James Knox had a promising start to his WorldTour career last season.
The 23-year-old settled into his new Deceuninck – Quick-Step team after joining at the start of 2018 and by the second half of the season was able to attack races head on.
This year, the former Team Wiggins rider is joined in the Belgian outfit by a youngster whose reputation precedes him, Remco Evenepoel.
The 19-year-old Belgian has skipped the Under-23 path to professional cycling, jumping straight to WorldTour level after an unprecedented junior racing career.
Evenepoel and Knox, from Levens in Cumbria, are racing together for the first time at the UAE Tour.
Knox told Cycling Weekly: “This is my first race with Remco. He was phenomenally strong in the [stage one] team time trial, it’s worth pointing that out.
“For all this hype, there’s certainly an amazing engine there, and as a person he’s sound to be honest.
“He’s easy going, chatty, friendly, he’s always positive and happy.
“It’s been really pleasant with him so far.”
Knox’s pre-professional results show his potential – he was second in in the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège, sixth in the Tour Alsace and eighth in the Tour de l’Avenir, all in 2017.
Evenpoel took victory in 23 of the 35 races he entered last season, including both the World Championship junior road race and time trial.
He is off to an exciting start in 2019, finishing third in the individual time trial of the Vuelta a San Juan and taking victory in the youth classification.
Knox and Evenpoel are both looking for opportunities at the UAE Tour.
Speaking ahead of the stage three to Jebel Hafeet, the first mountain test of the race, Knox said: “It’s going well so far. Most of the tough stages are still ahead of us so we’ll see how it goes.
“We’ll really find out after today. Today’s the first summit finish, we have three guys we know can climb. Hopefully I’m one of them.
“We’ll let today decide and we’ll go from there.
“If one of the guys goes really well, hopefully one of us does, we’ll put all our eggs in that basket and then work for them for the rest of the race.”