Jan Hirt on synergy with Remco Evenepoel before Giro d'Italia: "I do feel I know him well enough"

We haven't seen him in action in recent weeks, but somewhere on a mountain in Colombia, Jan Hirt is preparing to be Remco Evenepoel's luxury domestique at the Giro d'Italia. The 32-year-old Czech was brought to Soudal-Quick Step for that exact reason last winter. In de Leiderstrui had an extensive interview with Hirt about racing for The Wolfpack, riding for Evenepoel and an altitude training to be better than ever.

“I didn't have a race program in April, so I was going to go at altitude anyway. I could have chosen to go up to altitude with the team for the first two weeks of April and then on my own somewhere else. However, it was easier to go to Colombia for a whole month. I had been there three times before and often perform well after such a period. An altitude training is also really important to me, I really am a different rider when I come from a height" he explains, detailing his solo preparation for the race.

Hirt rode around Colombia last year with an Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert shirt on his shoulders, now he does so in the blue and white of Soudal-Quick-Step. A transfer that was concluded early in 2022. “We came into contact with each other in the Giro last year and we quickly decided that this would be the right step for me. We made the decision early, I always wanted to ride for Quick-Step. Whoever comes to race here usually rides better. I also wanted to experience that" said Hirt, who - if team boss Patrick Lefevre had any doubts - went on to win a stage in last year's Giro and finished sixth in the final classification.

"We didn't really talk specifically about my role within the team when I transferred. I came here to help Remco in the mountains for as long as possible," he confirms. Now comes the vital moment of the season to put his climbing form to the test.

In his first months, the Czech logically rode a lot together with his leader. An altitude training in December, the Vuelta a San Juan in January, another altitude training camp in February and finally the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in March. He already got to know Evenepoel well. After the Volta a Catalunya, Evenepoel and Hirt parted ways. “I hope the connection is still as good as before, haha. We've already spent a lot of time. I do feel I know him well enough."

Giro d'Italia will kick off with an ITT from Fossacesia Marina this Saturday (May 6th). Jan Hirt is expected to be Remco Evenpoel's key man in the final week's mountain stages, alongside Ilan van Wilder.

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