"Remco's first serious test" - Patrick Lefevere keeping close eye on Evenepoel's Criterium du Dauphine time-trial

Having been quiet in his first three days of his return at the Criterium du Dauphine, there will be no hiding for Remco Evenepoel on the stage 4 individual time-trial.

Soudal - Quick-Step team boss Patrick Lefevere has flown out to France to watch the action for himself and keep a close eye on how his team leader is going ahead of a much anticipated Tour de France debut later in the month. "Remco's first serious test. We'll see what happens, but of course he is the world champion and very proud to wear that jersey," Lefevere told the assembled Belgian media including Het Nieuwsblad post-stage 2.

"It is also a bit about prestige, because he will beat the Olympic champion (Primoz Roglic, ed.) and European champion (Joshua Tarling, ed.)," continues the often outspoken team boss. "So it is no coincidence that he is already on his time trial bike. I can't say if he will win, because I can't feel his legs, but I notice that he has made progress in recent days and I hope it will be a good fight.”

As mentioned, Evenepoel has uncharacteristically been keeping his powder dry through the first three stages of the Criterium du Dauphine. Whether or not a good time-trial performance could signal some more attacking Evenepoel during the remainder of the week, Lefevere is totally convinced, instead prioritising the upcoming Grand Tour.

“The last three days are very tough and a bad moment is always possible, but to be clear: this Dauphiné is there to get back into competition. The boys are looking forward to the Tour start on June 29 and that's still 24 days, right?" he explains. "I would prefer if they only fly from Florence. So if it is less now, we will not be hanging on the ropes.”

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