Lefevere gives sobering update and adjusts Tour de France outlook for Evenepoel over allergies, weight and illness

With Remco Evenepoel, Belgian cycling has renewed hope of competing for a podium spot in the Tour. However, the Soudal-Quick Step leader, who will debut in the world's biggest bike race on June 29, has had a troubled preparation. He decided on Friday to skip the road race of the Belgian National Championships (June 23) due to illness. According to team boss Patrick Lefevere, Evenepoel was already struggling with his health during the Critérium du Dauphiné.

These are unfavorable signs leading up to the Tour de France, where Evenepoel is expected to play a major role in the general classification. In Het Nieuwsblad's Grand Tour Preview, Lefevere has already tempered expectations. The team boss confirmed that his protégé was repeatedly tested for COVID-19 during the Dauphiné, something Lidl-Trek leaders Tao Geoghegan Hart and Giulio Ciccone also faced. Groupama-FDJ's David Gaudu also tested positive for COVID-19. Evenepoel did not.

Evenepoel attributed his throat issues to an allergy to pollen and dust mites. There was even serious consideration of removing carpets from French hotels, with sponsor Unilin offering to quickly install a new floor every day. The team doctor, however, expects that medication will suffice. Nonetheless, Lefevere acknowledges that the allergies could pose a problem in the Tour in July. "The accommodations in France, well... There's hotels where you shouldn't look under the bed, or you won't sleep. If you drop your suitcase, dust flies up."

Continue reading below the photo.

lefevere gives sobering update and adjusts tour de france outlook for evenepoel over allergies, weight and illness

Evenepoel was not yet healthy, in form (and at his weight) in the Dauphiné

Lefevere warns: "More annoyed than usual"

Another issue for Evenepoel, as with every GC contender, is weight. "Remco has the disadvantage that you can see it immediately in his face. It’s just one kilo, but it matters in the mountains," explains Lefevere, highlighting the importance of low weight to compete with the best on the climbs. "Weight has become so crucial, even in spring," says the team boss, continuing with an example. "In April, after the spring classics, we had a major evaluation meeting with all the staff. No one dares to speak up, but I took the last word: 'In my opinion, those riders were too heavy. True or not?' I then heard: 'Two kilos, two kilos, and four kilos.' You see, the old man still notices. Who was it? I won’t say. Sometimes cycling isn't difficult, of course. Our doctor Yvan Vanmol has been saying his entire career: fat doesn’t ride fast."

Through a high-altitude training camp, Evenepoel is supposed to get his weight ready for the Tour, and so Soudal-Quick Step remains fully focused on the general classification in the Tour de France. There is no room for a sprinter. "That's the case with GC teams. No one takes a sprinter anymore. I talked about it within the team this morning. I understand the logic of focusing entirely on the GC, but it's against my nature. If we haven't won a stage in the first week of the Tour, I get annoyed. And I'll quickly say it myself: more annoyed than usual," the flamboyant team boss warns with a wink.

OTHER NEWS

24 minutes ago

Nara Smith makes Marc Jacobs tote bag from scratch in ‘genius’ TikTok ad

24 minutes ago

‘We don’t discriminate’: ACSA clarifies airport security protocols

24 minutes ago

Harry congratulates Birmingham on winning bid to host 2027 Invictus Games

24 minutes ago

I haven't lived up to hype at Wests Tigers: Papali'i

24 minutes ago

Australian Olympic star struck down by Covid just DAYS before Paris Games begin

24 minutes ago

Mysterious 'dark oxygen' produced in the deep ocean by lumps of metal

24 minutes ago

Video: Radio star Ali Carke breaks down in tears as she reveals heartbreaking cancer diagnosis live on air

24 minutes ago

Sam Reid: Footy world is rocked by sudden retirement of star who quit the AFL despite his team being HUGE favourites to win the grand final

24 minutes ago

Best football betting sites in the UK for July 2024

24 minutes ago

New study reveals that half of UK adults ‘don’t read’ regularly

24 minutes ago

Pushing yourself too hard in gym might actually be counterproductive, study finds

24 minutes ago

Everything You Need To Know About The 2024 Paris Olympics

24 minutes ago

Eagles’ initial 90-man roster at the start of training camp, organized by position

24 minutes ago

Should ASX investors be worried about the low CBA dividend yield?

24 minutes ago

Steelers’ Legendary Defender Rod Woodson Praised By Current Day NFL Safety: 'He Was Different Bro'

24 minutes ago

Ferrari CEO: E-fuels are "way forward" for ICE supercars

24 minutes ago

'Enormous pressure' on Nine as workers threaten to strike during Olympics

24 minutes ago

Pictured: HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves dockyard after lengthy repairs

24 minutes ago

Volkswagen is reeling in China. Can EVs help it grow in the US?

24 minutes ago

Andy Murray to retire after Olympics following emotional Wimbledon farewell

24 minutes ago

Can YOU spot the difference in Feyenoord's badge? Dutch club mocked after unveiling 'fresh' new logo which is almost identical to their old one as fans joke: 'Give that designer a raise!'

24 minutes ago

Stats boffins predict how many medals Team GB will win at Paris Olympics - so, who is tipped to join Adam Peaty and Keely Hodgkinson in bagging a gold?

24 minutes ago

Rep. Eric Swalwell Went On Fox News And Told It Like It Is About Donald Trump

24 minutes ago

Thousands have ignored red X signs on smart motorways in last three years

24 minutes ago

Rafael Nadal ‘convinced’ about Carlos Alcaraz’s level ahead of blockbuster Olympic partnership

24 minutes ago

Ukrainian Drones Attack Russian Ferry Port

24 minutes ago

Fuller’s cheers ‘strong’ trading as cost inflation eases further

24 minutes ago

Russia Admits Western Missiles Destroying Its Aircraft: New Defensive Measures Planned

24 minutes ago

Andy Murray confirms Paris 2024 retirement decision in major announcement

24 minutes ago

Finnish border law sparks controversy amid migration concerns

24 minutes ago

Vegan skincare solutions for teenagers

24 minutes ago

Death toll in southern Ethiopia mudslides rises to at least 157 as search continues

24 minutes ago

Venice Film Festival Lineup: Out Of Competition Series From Alfonso Cuaron, Thomas Vinterberg & Joe Wright – Updating Live

24 minutes ago

‘A big green light to cut’: What to expect from the Bank of Canada this week

24 minutes ago

‘They freaked out’: How a deal to end the LCBO strike almost fell apart at the last minute

24 minutes ago

Health Secretary Wes Streeting begins formal talks with junior doctors to end pay dispute

24 minutes ago

DWP consultation on PIP changes ends today with voucher-based system considered

24 minutes ago

Video: Tom Gleeson leaves host Grant Denyer in stitches as he creates chaos on Deal or No Deal: Celebrity Jackpot

24 minutes ago

Let’s get physical: the science of dance at the Venice Biennale

24 minutes ago

British trainee lawyer found dehydrated and drained 12 days after mysterious disappearance in Mallorca

ALONGWALKER VIETNAM: Kênh khám phá trải nghiệm của giới trẻ, thế giới du lịch ALONGWALKER INDONESIA: Saluran untuk mengeksplorasi pengalaman para pemuda global