"I will look less at my position in the GC" - Remco Evenepoel confirms Dauphine debut is mostly a post-injury tester ahead of the Tour de France

Although his spring was disrupted by a crash at the Itzulia Basque Country, Remco Evenepoel's Tour de France preparations return to the road at the 2024 Criterium du Dauphine as the Belgian makes his debut at the prestigious week-long stage race.

"I'm looking forward to competing again in a couple of days," the Soudal - Quick-Step leader previews in quotes collected by Marca ahead of the Criterium du Dauphine. "I'm in a good place after the crash in the Itzulia Basque Country and the injuries I suffered there, but there is still work to do to get back to my best form.

As hinted at by his coach also, Evenepoel isn't heading to the Dauphine fully expecting a general classification challenge. Instead, the 24-year-old is riding without pressure and using the race as a pre-Tour de France tester to see where he stands post-injury in relation to the likes of Primoz Roglic, Juan Ayuso, Carlos Rodriguez, Sepp Kuss and Matteo Jorgenson among others, as the Dauphine boasts a stacked field of Maillot Jaune contenders.

"I'm happy to discover the Dauphiné, but I will look less at my position in the general classification," Evenepoel insists. "It will be more of an opportunity to get back to race pace and see where I am."

"We cannot expect that Remco will immediately compete for the win," his coach, Koen Pelgrim had previously explained in conversation with Sporza. "If he lets it go for a day and is therefore unable to ride a classification, then so be it. The most important thing is that Remco improves over the course of the stage race. There are certainly still percentages to be gained." Therefore, despite the outside pressures of Evenepoel always expected to be competing for the win, in the Soudal - Quick-Step set up, this Dauphine is being seen as something of a free hit for their leader to go for.

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