Remco Evenepoel eyes time-trial victory at Dauphine but recognizes rivals: "Tarling and Roglic are in shape"

This Wednesday will see a very important day for the GC riders at the Criterium du Dauphiné. Before hitting the mountains, the big contenders for the yellow jersey will go face-to-face on a hilly 34-kilometer time-trial that will certainly open things up significantly ahead of the mountains. Remco Evenepoel tells what he expects out of stage 4.

“It will be very important for me. Especially to see how the shoulder is doing, how it reacts and functions. Because it will be an effort of almost three quarters of an hour," Evenepoel shared in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad. "It will be important to pace well, because it is a fairly long time trial, which starts flat but starts to go uphill after 15 kilometers. I will have to save something for the last part, but it is certainly a profile that suits me. I am really looking forward to it. It is the stage that interests me the most."

Evenepoel crashed and was fourth in the small time-trial at Itzulia Basque Country earlier this spring; and won the time-trial at the Volta ao Algarve. The Belgian starts his effort as one of the main favourites but faces European Champion Joshua Tarling, as well as GC rivals Primoz Roglic and Juan Ayuso - all very realistic winners for the day.

"Gosh. Tarling and Roglic are in shape... I am going for the podium, that would be nice. In any case, it will give a good indication of my shape for the shorter efforts, which is important with a view to the first time trial in the Tour," the Belgian says. "But whatever the result, we will only be able to draw conclusions after the event.”

Evenepoel's aim is to test his legs following two months away from racing, and building the perfect form into the Tour de France. Hence, he is not overly tense for today's stage, although a victory could come as a highly motivating factor ahead of July - and should also result in a yellow jersey.

“If everything goes perfectly, he would have started that time trial with one ambition: to win," team DS Klaas Lodewyck adds. "If you lose, you are disappointed. But because of his training deficit after his crash in the Basque Country, this time the good feeling is more important. He has to be able to get off the bike and decide for himself: it is good. But this test is not all-determining for what he can do this weekend, for example.”

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