Remco Evenepoel abandons Benelux Tour with stomach issues

The Belgian is aiming to recover in time for the European Championships next week

Remco Evenepoel
(Image credit: Getty)

Remco Evenepoel has been forced to abandon the 2021 Benelux Tour with ongoing stomach issues.

The Belgian had first reported suffering from stomach problems after stage one on Monday, when he said he was unable to eat anything before the short stage two time trial the following day.

He struggled through the time trial, finishing 39 seconds off the winner Stefan Bissegger (EF Nippo), and was able to recover enough to take to the start of stage three. 

"I was able to hold on for the first three to four kilometres," Evenepoel said of the 11.1km time trial, "but after that my legs ran empty because I had not absorbed enough energy. We hoped for an improvement before the time trial, but that was not the case."

After completing stage three and stage four Evenepoel's condition appeared to be on the up, but his Deceuninck-Quick-Step team reported that on Thursday night the 21-year-old had suffered a recurrence of the stomach problems that had blighted him earlier in the week.

The decision was then taken to pull Evenepoel from the race, potentially with an eye on the upcoming European Championships time trial and road race next week in Trento, Italy.

"After his condition was improving the past days, had stomach problems again last night, after which it has been decided he won’t start the Benelux Tour today," the team posted.

"The team’s doctors will follow up on his evolution the next days. Have a full and speedy recovery, Remco!"

The season has been one of mixed fortunes for Evenepoel. He successfully recovered from his long-term injury, suffered in a crash at the 2020 Il Lombardia, to take part in his debut Grand Tour at the Giro d'Italia in May. The Giro was a baptism of fire for him, as he struggled through to the third week after a bright start, eventually abandoning on stage 18.

He then had a resurgent summer on home soil, taking victory in the Belgium Tour, Druivenkoers - Overijse, and the Brussels Cycling Classic, as well as the overall at the Tour of Denmark. The Tokyo Olympic Games, another of his main aims of the season, didn't go his way either as he finished 49th in the road race and ninth in the time trial.

Evenepoel's should next appear, depending on his recovery, at the European Championships time trial on September 9 and the road race on September 12. He'll then ride the World Championships in Belgium later in September before potentially concluding his season at Il Lombardia in October.

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).