"He knows what he's doing and so do we" - Remco Evenepoel quiet but safe on opening stage of Criterium du Dauphine 2024

One of the few opportunities for the sprinters at the 2024 Criterium du Dauphine, the opening stage was a relatively relaxed and quiet one for Soudal - Quick-Step leader Remco Evenepoel, with staying safe the most optimal objective.

“That is an agreement we made, not only with Remco, but with the entire team," Soudal - Quick-Step sports director, Klaas Lodewyck reflects post-stage in conversation with VTM about the low-profile of Evenepoel on the opening day. "We use the Dauphiné to continue building up towards the Tour de France. If that crash in the Itzulia Basque Country had not happened, and he could finish everything as planned, then you would be here with different ambitions. Now we have to temper expectations.”

As mentioned, the Tour de France is the biggest goal of the season for Evenepoel but despite the team and the Belgian himself keen to play down expectations, those expectations do still follow the time-trial world champion around, especially so close to the Grand Depart of his upcoming Tour de France debut.

“After Friday's time trial we will know more and we can possibly set other objectives for the last - very difficult - part of this Dauphiné. But for now the goal is to leave the Dauphiné better than when Remco arrived,” Lodewyck continues, not going so far as to totally rule out overall victory at the Criterium du Dauphine. “That is possible, but we first have to wait for the time trial. It is not the case that we are going to control everything here and take the work on our shoulders. We're going to let the race run and see where we end up. We must have a healthy ambition and not aim too high. He knows what he's doing, so do we. We just have to stick to our idea.”

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