“All the pressure will be on UAE Team Emirates" at the Tour de France says Remco Evenepoel

Ahead of his return to racing at the Criterium du Dauphine following his involvement in the nasty crash at the Itzulia Basque Country earlier this year, Remco Evenepoel cast an eye towards his upcoming Tour de France debut.

Seen by many experts and analysts as one of the few riders in the peloton who could possibly deny Tadej Pogacar at the coming edition of the Tour de France, Evenepoel insists all the pressure is on the team of the pre-race favourite and not those attempting to challenge the Slovenian. “All the pressure will be on UAE Team Emirates, considering how impressive Tadej was in the Giro d'Italia," the Soudal - Quick-Step leader assesses via a video call with Het Nieuwsblad.

"There are also a few top players joining his team," Evenepoel continues, referencing the star-studded UAE Team Emirates lineup set to support Pogacar later this month, including the proven climbing capabilities of Adam Yates, Juan Ayuso, Joao Almeida, Marc Soler and Pavel Sivakov, plus the more all-round qualities of one-day specialists Nils Politt and Tim Wellens.

With reigning two-time, back-to-back Maillot Jaune winner Jonas Vingegaard facing a race against time to even be at the start line of the Tour de France in Florence, Evenepoel believes last year's runner-up Pogacar must take over the mantle of pre-race favourite.

"There is no great pressure for myself and my team," the Belgian, who has one Grand Tour under his belt already (the 2022 Vuelta a Espana ed.), concludes. "The pressure is on the others and we must try to follow. If you can follow Tadej, that is a victory in itself. (smiles) But maybe he wins stage 1 with a 5-minute lead and it's already over. He is really a special rider and it wouldn't surprise me if he also wins the Tour after the Giro.”

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