Remco Evenepoel "will have to take a very big step" to fight for Tour de France win, expert says

Two months after fracturing his collarbone and shoulder blade, Remco Evenepoel returned to competition at the Criterium du Dauphiné with modest ambitions but with some success. He won the race's time-trial and wore the yellow jersey. He failed to keep it in the mountains but shrugged off his seventh place in the overall classification.

The Belgian did not have the best start to the race, and he voiced out that he just wanted to take the race day by day, and attempted to take the pressure away from his shoulders at every obstacle. This became harder when he won the time-trial, but the Soudal - Quick-Step argued that his level at the Dauphiné was not the best. On stage 6 he lost the yellow jersey but finished among the best losing only 42 seconds to Primoz Roglic, but the following day in Samoëns 1600 he encountered more serious difficulties.

“With Evenepoel, you can say that we haven't seen the back of his tongue yet," Thijs Zonneveld said in the Het Wiel podcast. "Not that that gives us much confidence now." Evenepoel's Tour de France is met with very high expectations from many, but he himself believes that a stage win and Top5 is a realistic ambition. Judging by this year's results, matching the likes of Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard in the high mountains seems to be a stretch.

The Belgian team had it's Tour block present in France, with Mikel Landa showing good level after also injuring himself at Itzulia, but with Ilan van Wilder abandoning the race after appearing far from his best.

"It will also be difficult for him to make up for this if he really wants to compete for the main prize. Then he will have to take a very big step. Only Roglic did make an all-out effort on Sunday," he concluded.

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