Remco Evenepoel has drawn up the plans for his first season as a professional, opting for a light schedule that will see him complete no more than 55 days of racing with WorldTour outfit Deceuninck-QuickStep in 2019.
The Belgian is widely regarded as the most promising young talent in the sport, not least after he won both the junior time trial and road race titles at the recent UCI Road World Championships.
Formerly a promising footballer, Evenepoel only switched to cycling a couple of years ago and, after taking the junior ranks by storm, he has signed for one of the world's top teams, Quick-Step Floors, from 2019, choosing to skip the U23 ranks entirely.
Team owner Patrick Lefevere announced in October that he had signed a multi-year deal with window manufacturer Deceuninck as title sponsor for 2019 and beyond.
Quick-Step are exercising caution and easing Evenepoel in gently in his first professional campaign next year. He will start out with one short stage race per month, beginning in Argentina at the Vuelta a San Juan in late January, followed by the Volta ao Algarve in late February, the Volta a Catalunya in late March, and the Tour of Turkey in late April.
"The first four months I'll do few races. Those races will be an ideal introduction. I can calmly discover myself as a professional, taking things in and realising 'ah, that's how it works here'," Evenepoel told Het Laatste Nieuws.
"Catalunya will be a challenge. It's WorldTour level, [Alejandro] Valverde, [Nairo] Quintana and co will undoubtedly already look good. I'm looking forward to it, it's motivating. In my mind I am already working on it now. I want to be there immediately in Argentina."
After those initial 26 days of racing, Evenepoel will then take a break before setting out on the second half of his season, which is as-yet undefined.
"The further continuation of my season has yet to be discussed," he said. "Perhaps I also ride the team time trial and climb stage of the Hammer Series Limburg [in June]."
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