Cycling news - Remco Evenepoel targets Vuelta a San Juan success with Deceuninck-QuickStep
Remco Evenepoel is aiming to improve at the Vuelta a San Juan with the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider in the running for a victory in Argentina.
Belgian Remco Evenepoel of Deceuninck - Quick-Step celebrates after winning the second stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour cycling race, 180,8km from Knokke-Heist to Zottegem, Thursday 13 June 2019. BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN (Photo credit should read DAVID
Published 25/01/2020 at 12:29 GMT | Updated 25/01/2020 at 13:11 GMT
Evenepoel's progress has been rapid, with the Belgian saying that, 'both' his tactical and physical strengths have improved over the course of the last 12 months, after his first year as professional cyclist.
The 20-year-old moved from the junior level straight to the World Tour, and Evenepoel made it clear that he considers himself a much better athlete since turning pro.
"I became stronger and also the tactical part is better, the weight is better. Everything is better. Hopefully I can prove it to myself already this week. Normally everything should be better than last year."
That move, from junior to pro with no stepping stone stage in under-23 competition, left him open to worries that he would not be ready to compete with the best. However raw he was, it did not prevent him from winning the Baloise Belgium Tour, the European time trial title, and the San Sebastian Clasica.
Looking back on his first campaign, he said that he was keen to take in every lesson from his experience so far.
Quizzed on what was his most important lesson, he said: "Everything. Just everything. You cannot learn enough. Every small detail that every rider gives me, I pick it up and put it in my backpack."
Joining Deceuninck-QuickStep gave him the opporunity to work with teammate Julian Alaphilippe. Such is Evenepoel's rapid improvement that he will be joint leader of the team at the Vuelta in Argentina.
CALPE, SPAIN - JANUARY 12: Julian Alaphilippe of France and Deceuninck - Quick-Step Team / during the Team Deceuninck-Quick-Step 2020 - Training / @deceuninck_qst / #TheWolfpack / on January 12, 2020 in Calpe, Spain. (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
Image credit: Getty Images
In 2020, the Argentine race will be part of a strategy that peaks first for the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race and then the Giro d'Italia. Then comes the Olympics in Tokyo, before the season wraps up with the World Championships.
He outlined the tactics for the upcoming Veutla:
"We will both go all-out in the time trial and in Colorado we will help each other out as much as possible. Then we will both try to go for the best position on GC possible," Evenepoel explained.
"We both know we are already in quite good shape. Last year, Julian was better – or he already had the leader's jersey – so I had to work for him. This year, it can be different, but we will see how it goes."
Evenepoel will be riding a road bike which will blunt his sprinting prowess, but he is ready to do what he can to hit his top speed.
"It's always difficult here because it's with a normal bike, so I think my strongest point, my aerodynamics, will not be as functional as on the TT bike, but I will still try to get my position as small as possible.
"Of course, it's a time trial and the first time in my European jersey so maybe [I could succeed]."
As a mark of the youngsters confidence, Evenepoel considered that some riders might start to judge him such a threat that they will target him in order to nullify his efforts.
. "If they want to be jealous, they can be - I will not be awake in the night about this."