"I understand that people may have doubts, but I don't care" - Remco Evenepoel retains faith in Tour de France challenge despite more Dauphine time loss

Remco Evenepoel didn't have the best day on stage 7 of the 2024 Criterium du Dauphine. The Soudal - Quick-Step leader was dropped with 7km to go on the final climb on stage, dropping from 2nd in the general classification to 6th as a result.

“What did I learn today? That there is still work to be done," the 24-year-old Belgian admitted honestly in his post-stage interview with the Belgian media. "I understand that people may have doubts, but I don't care. This doesn't cross my mind. There is certainly still work to be done, but there is no reason to panic. I just have to get better.”

Earlier in the day, Soudal - Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere had eluded to Evenepoel's current weight being a problem in his Het Nieuwsblad column. "Before the Dauphiné, I already told all the journalists: our riders have to be top at the end of June at the start of the Tour. Should Remco already be at his best level now, we have a problem. He would then have to stretch that for another six weeks," Lefevere wrote. "In weight, for example, Remco is not yet at Tour level now. Another kilo or a kilo and a half has to come off, which usually goes smoothly with him. After the Dauphiné, the Tour team will go on another stage to Isola 2000. There we will work on the last percentages."

Posed with these comments post-stage, Evenepoel admitted he is bigger than would like at this moment. "That is obvious. I'm not at Tour weight yet," he explains. "I also took a break for three weeks. I am someone who can easily gain two kilos at that time. That will be gone by the most important moments in the Tour. I know myself well enough.”

Now over two minutes down on Primoz Roglic, any hopes Evenepoel had of entering his Tour de France debut on the back of overall victory at the Dauphine look slim. Having managed his efforts well after being dropped however, the podium is only 1:02 away and as such, cannot be ruled out.

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