"In weight, for example, Remco is not yet at Tour level now" - Work to do for Evenepoel according to Patrick Lefevere

Remco Evenepoel was very obvious about his ambitions ahead of the 2024 Criterium du Dauphine. After taking the Maillot Jaune with a thunderous time-trial performance however, it seemed like the Belgian had merely been playing mind games. After losing the race lead to Primoz Roglic on the summit finish of stage 6 though, there is clearly still work to be done.

"His time trial was rock solid on Wednesday. The climbing performance to Le Collet d'Allevard was solid without question. Remco's level is as I estimated beforehand," analyses Soudal - Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere in his column for Het Nieuwsblad. "Before the start of the Dauphiné, Remco rather emphatically applied for the role of underdog. Statements like ‘maybe I will be a domestique for Mikel Landa and Ilan Van Wilder’ are not something we are used to from him. That was perhaps a bit exaggerated, but it was also not without foundation."

With a much anticipated Tour de France debut on the horizon however, Lefevere understands that Evenepoel isn't at his top level just yet. Especially as he is only in his first race back from that horror Itzulia Basque Country crash. "He was not the best in the team in the first days and for him that is an uncomfortable sensation. A situation that doesn't happen very often," writes the team boss. "That he is still a bit behind in the Dauphiné uphill is therefore only natural."

"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 continues. "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."

On the Tour de France, Lefevere also believes he has spotted BORA - hansgrohe practicing their Grand Tour tactics. "The one-two punch between Aleksandr Vlasov and Primoz Roglic is something they are obviously going to try in the Tour too," concludes the Belgian.

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