Jurgen Van den Broeck thinks Dauphiné will provide answers about Remco Evenepoel's Tour chances: "I always thought: the feeling at Dauphiné must at least be good"

It's been fourteen long years since last Belgian stood on the final podium of Tour de France in Paris and nearly 50 years since Lucien Van Impe's last triumph in 1976. While Van Impe probably won't find his successor in 2024, Jurgen Van den Broeck could see another compatriot finally crack the top 3 in Remco Evenepoel. According to the third man of 2010 Tour de France, the Critérium du Dauphiné (starting on Sunday) will already tell us a lot about the main Tour GC conteneder's shape.

Having podiumed both races back in his prime, Van den Broeck shares his experience on how the two races complement each other. "I always thought: the feeling (at Dauphiné) must at least be good. Afterwards you know that you still have a little time to fine-tune. But if the feeling isn't right, things rarely turn out right," he explains to WielerFlits. "In that respect it will be an important test for Remco and also for the other favorites."

The expectations of Evenepoel are never low, but is it even possible to be fully ready in such short period of time? "People underestimate the impact of having to rebuild what you have lost in fitness and muscles. Everything depends on the period during which you have been completely silent. If you can cycle again quickly, all in all, it won't be too bad."

At Tour de France 2023, Tadej Pogacar also looked well after his wrist injury, until the third week hit. "You have to take that into account. If you've been away for a while, part of your base will be gone. That always makes a difference, but you only notice it systematically. In the beginning you still race based on your recently acquired fitness level. But in the weeks that follow, fatigue comes on top of that. And then you quickly notice in your body whether something has happened in the preparation. If you want to be top-top for three weeks, those months beforehand have to go really smoothly."

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