"Remco is Remco. He can always win" - UAE Team Emirates wary of Evenepoel threat to Tadej Pogacar at Tour de France

It's likely that for the first time ever, all of cycling's 'Big 4' of Grand Tour riders will be at the start line of the Tour de France later this month in Florence. Most untested of the quartet, will be Tour de France debutant Remco Evenepoel.

For UAE Team Emirates boss Joxean Matxin, this could actually be the most challenging field of general classification competitors ever assembled, making life difficult for his team leader and pre-race favourite, Tadej Pogacar. "What is true: of all the Tours we have ridden with Tadej, this will be the edition with the toughest field of participants. Carlos Rodriguez, Primoz Roglic, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Evenepoel of course... the competition has never been greater," Matxin tells Het Nieuwsblad, also expectant that Jonas Vingegaard will be present and close to his best.

In our recent poll "How will Remco Evenpoel's GC challenge go at 2024 Tour de France", you voted in your numbers and the general consensus was that the Soudal - Quick-Step leader is not a viable Maillot Jaune contender, with just over 2% backing him for the victory and a further 7% backing Evenepoel to claim a spot on the podium. In fact, the most popular option is that Evenepoel will instead be contesting for stage wins and the polka-dot jersey.

Matxin however, is very wary of the threat Evenepoel poses to Pogacar at the upcoming Tour de France. "Remco is Remco. He can always win," the UAE boss explains. "When he's good, he's very good. Okay, in the Dauphiné he wasn't one hundred per cent in shape yet, but that was three weeks before the Tour. And we all know that Remco is great at working towards something. I am sure he is going to be in top form in France."

The fact it's his first Tour de France should also be no concern for the Belgian according to Matxin. "When he won the Vuelta it was also his first Vuelta, right?" Matxin notes. "Remco has experience, overflows with ambition, has the right character and knows what it is to win a three-week race. Just chalk him up as one of the big competitors in the Tour."

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