Remco Evenepoel says ‘the fear of gaining weight was there’ during his recovery as he drops 5kg

Even with the set-back of his injuries sustained at this year's Il Lombardia, he has lost 5kg on his 2019 weight

Remco Evenepoel has said that he was concerned about gaining weight during his injury lay-off, but has dropped 5kgs from his 2019 wight.

In the past, Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), has been told that he is ‘too fat’ by team boss, Patrick Lefevere, on multiple occasions, so weight has been a big focus of the 20-year-old’s early career.

According to the young Belgian, he has lost four to five kilograms since his crash but says it is not all down to loss of muscle mass. It is also the amount of weight Lefevere wanted him to lose.

Speaking in a Zoom interview, Evenepoel told cycling news site Wielerflits: “I knew that every kilogram I would gain would be one kilogram too much to get back to the top.

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“I haven’t done any tests yet. It is also difficult to compare, because my weight currently fluctuates between 59 and 60 kilograms. That is four, five kilos less than a year ago. My baby fat is gone.

“And it goes without saying that you then have to push less watts to drive just as fast. But tests will be done within a few weeks and I will have a better idea of ​​that.”

Evenepoel also said that he is about a month ahead of schedule with training saying he was due to start riding this month but has already been back on the bike for much longer than expected.

He continued: “The fear of gaining weight was there, so I paid extra attention.

“It’s not like I’m an anorexic patient now, is it. But my upper body, that is skin and bone. Over the past few months I have seen the seriousness of the importance of nutrition, and have researched and learned a lot.”

In March last year, during Evenepoel’s debut WorldTour season, Lefevere called the then-19-year-old “too fat” in an interview with Belgian media, adding he thought the rider was four kilograms too heavy.

Then in February this year, as Evenepoel was on his way to victory in Portugal, Lefevere told the press that Evenepoel still needs to lose two kilograms.

There has been an increased focus on mental health in the pro peloton in recent years, particularly the impact of weight and nutrition.

Jani Brajkovič revealing he had been dealing with his own unhealthy relationship with food and a diet expert recently warning that she had seen an increase in cyclists with eating disorders. 

Team Ineos rider Rohan Dennis also recently revealed he had taken a step back from his Grand Tour ambitions because of concerns he was developing disordered eating.

Chris Froome,  four-time Tour de France winner, also has also revealed some of the pressure a Grand Tour rider faces when it comes to diet saying “riding six hours a day you’re just starving all the time, starving day and night.”

Evenepoel was having an incredible season in 2020 before his crash in Il Lombardia, winning the San Juan Tour in Argentina, the Volta ao Algarve, Vuelta a Burgos and the Tour of Poland, the latter being won with an epic long distance solo attack.

Talk is that he will be focusing on the Tour de France for 2021, but maybe he will ride the Giro d’Italia first, like he was originally going to do in 2020.