"We cannot expect that Remco will immediately compete for the win" - Evenepoel's coach plays down expectations ahead of Criterium du Dauphine

For the first time since his spring-ending crash at the Itzulia Basque Country earlier this year, Remco Evenepoel will return to racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné on the 2nd of June.

Given his lengthy spell out of action however, Evenepoel's coach, Koen Pelgrim is keen to play down the expectations surrounding his rider. "We cannot expect that Remco will immediately compete for the win," Pelgrim explains in conversation with Sporza. "If he lets it go for a day and is therefore unable to ride a classification, then so be it. The most important thing is that Remco improves over the course of the stage race. There are certainly still percentages to be gained."

On that crash earlier this year, Pelgrim admits he still feels slightly bitter. "It was a big disappointment. Remco had 3 goals in the spring: Paris-Nice, the Tour of the Basque Country and the classics (Amstel, Liège and possibly La Flèche Wallonne). If 2 of the 3 goals suddenly disappear, then That's a downer," he reflects rather ruefully.

Evenepoel also suffered mentally due to the crash. "He couldn't help but face reality, regain his strength and be happy that it wasn't worse. See how he narrowly missed a boulder and tree when he jumped over that ditch," Pelgrim recalls. "Remco was not immediately pain-free during his first training sessions. The time trial bike, sprinting and riding over potholes were things we had to avoid in the first weeks."

Evenepoel in action earlier this year

Despite the trials and tribulations of the last few months however, Pilgrim is pleased by the progress Evenepoel has shown in his recovery over recent weeks. "It's great to see how driven Remco is and how he is making progress," says coach Pelgrim. "Remco did training sessions of 6.5 to 7 hours in the Sierra, at an altitude of 5,000 meters."

"You cannot make up for those 3 weeks of inactivity with 3 weeks of training at altitude. Remco made a nice step forward during the altitude training. But if he had been able to ride at a level up to and including Liège-Bastogne-Liège with a week of rest afterwards, he would now have been further conditionally," he concludes with an eye towards the Tour de France. "We are confident that the conditional backlog will be eliminated by then."

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments