Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl manager Patrick Lefevere has said that a decision is still to be made on which grand tour Remco Evenepoel will target in 2023.
On Thursday at the route presentation for the 2023 Tour de France, Lefevere shied away from questions regarding plans for the recent Vuelta a España winner. He told Cyclingnews that nothing will be finalised for Evenepoel until January.
“We will not decide today, absolutely not,” Lefevere said.
“Over the next few weeks we’ll take a closer look at everything and make a final decision. Remco has proven that he can also go uphill,” he said. “In the Giro, in addition to the three time trials, there are also mountain stages.”
“I don’t rule out anything for Evenepoel. A good Remco can do well on every kind of course,” Lefevere added.
The route for the 2023 Giro d’Italia and it contains 70.6 kilometres of time trialling spread over three stages. Such a heavy focus on time trialling at the 2023 Italian grand tour is widely seen as being an attempt to attract Evenepoel to Italy next year.
Evenepoel was not present at the route presentation for the Tour. This year’s overall winner Jonas Vingegaard was also not in Paris due to commitments at ASO organised criteriums in Asia.
If Evenepoel skips the Tour in 2023, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl will be able to rely on a plethora of talented riders to ensure that the team still tastes success. In Fakio Jakobsen and recent signing Tim Merlier, the Belgian squad have two highly talented sprinters capable of taking stage wins as well as targeting the green jersey.
Two-time road world champion Julian Alaphilippe missed the 2022 Tour de France due to injury, although would be expected to participate next year.
On the makeup of the 2023 route, Lefevere said: “It’s a Tour de France with different difficulties. I counted eight flattish stages, eight mountain stages and a tough start in the Basque country.”
World Champion Evenepoel has tasted victory at the Clásica San Sebastián in 2019 and 2022. Stage two of the Tour features many of the climbs associated with the Spanish one day race including the infamous Jaizkibel climb, something which Lefevere admitted could favour his team.
“Julian Alaphilippe and possibly a good Remco Evenepoel could do well there. I’m not ruling anything out,” he said.
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