Lefevere: Evenepoel could race at 2020 Olympics

'20 is too early to ride the Tour' says Deceuninck-QuickStep boss

Deceuninck-QuickStep team boss Patrick Lefevere has suggested that teen phenom Remco Evenepoel could race at the Tokyo Olympics next summer, continuing his mercurial rise to the top of the sport.

The 19-year-old neo-pro his fourth and fifth races of the season earlier this month, taking a solo victory at Clásica San Sebastián and following it up last Thursday with a 19-second win at the European Championships time trial.

His progress has been so rapid that many have wondered if there's a race he won't be able to win, but Lefevere has ruled the biggest of all out – for next season, at least.

"Remco will still only be 20 next year. That's too early to ride the Tour," said Lefevere in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws. "If he wants to do the Olympics, I'll let him.

"He is still young, in full development. He must be given the opportunity to develop himself so we're not going to put anything in his way. [Next summer] he will therefore have his hands free to prepare for the Games."

The 19-year-old recently secured an informal contract extension with Deceuninck-QuickStep, as Lefevere reached a handshake agreement with Evenepoel's father. As a result, another year has been added, with the option to extend further to 2023. It was an easy decision to make, according to the veteran team manager.

"If you win, you have a lot of friends," said Lefevere. "So there would be a lot of teams trying to get hold of him. I didn't have to do that, but you to know what you're starting with such a young rider, and we will continue to steer his career in the right direction in the coming years.

"It took 200 metres [to extend the contract]. I was walking with his father to a terrace and at that time it was over. It's obvious that the contract will be in line with his performances," he added, hinting at a pay raise.

Evenepoel, who is currently training in Livigno in northern Italy, will take much of August off racing before a slated return to the peloton at the Deutschland Tour on August 29 and then heading to the GP Québec and Montréal in mid-September.

 

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