Remco Evenepoel will return to racing in Belgium this weekend less than a fortnight after abandoning the Giro d'Italia.
The 21-year-old was forced out of his debut Grand Tour appearance after crashing on stage 17, making it to the finish before not taking the start the following day.
Now, he lines up at Elfstedenronde on Sunday June 6, a 193km-long one-day race starting and ending in Bruges, the three most recent winners being Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix), Adam Blythe, and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
"He wants to race and we would like him to race," Deceuninck - Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere told Het Laatste Nieuws (opens in new tab). “So it was clear very quickly which direction we would go.”
As for Evenepoel, the Belgian is happy with his performance at the Giro, and is prepared to be patient as he continues to rebuild after his horrible crash at Il Lombardia in 2020.
“The biggest lesson is you have to have perfect preparation to have a perfect Grand Tour," Evenepoel also told Het Laatste Nieuws. "With such short preparation a rider is not capable of being hyper-concentrated and hyper-focused every day for three weeks at the top level. That takes energy and my body wasn't ready for that yet.
“Maybe it will take a whole year before I get back to my top level. But I can hardly blame myself. I have worked out everything down to the last detail of what the team, my coach and the doctors have said to do.”
Evenepoel will line up at Elfstedenronde alongside Mark Cavendish, whose omission from the team's Tour de France squad this summer is not a foregone conclusion, Patrick Lefevere said in his weekly column in Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab).
Supported by the likes of Yves Lampaert and Michael Mørkøv, they will face up against Merlier, Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and Bora-Hansgrohe's Pascal Ackermann.
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and 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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