After sealing overall victory at the Baloise Belgium Tour on Sunday, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) is now turning his thoughts to preparing for the Tokyo Olympics, where he will line out in both the road race and the individual time trial.
Evenepoel was forced to abandon his Grand Tour debut at last month’s Giro d’Italia in the final week, but the youngster returned to winning ways on home roads, claiming the individual time trial on stage 2 en route to claiming the overall honours.
The 21-year-old’s victories in Belgium were his first since he broke his pelvis in a heavy crash at Il Lombardia last August.
"It’s a sort of thank you to those who supported me during this difficult period," Evenepoel said, according to RTBF. "This victory is very significant in my eyes. I’m coming back after some very hard training and it was important to win the time trial.
"Above all, I wanted to be ready for the start of the Giro before being able to succeed here. We’ve made a very good progression."
Evenepoel will race in both the time trial and road race at this week’s Belgian Championships and he will then undertake one further training camp before he leaves for Japan early next month.
"I don’t know yet where the camp will take place, but you have to consider that when you go to altitude, you can’t train as intensely," he said.
"In my case, a training camp with intensity would be more useful than going into the high mountains. Maybe in Spain."
Evenepoel will line up as the favourite for Wednesday’s Belgian national time trial, with Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), silver medallist in last year’s Worlds, an absentee.
"It will be the last time trial before the Olympics. The distance is the same so it will be a good test," said Evenepoel.
"I feel that I’ve got the strength and the speed in my legs. I’m going to recover well on Monday. I’ll do a recon on Tuesday and then it’s the race on Wednesday. I’m eager to suffer in any case."
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