The 19-year-old Evenepoel turned professional this season directly from the junior ranks after winning the time trial and road race world titles. In a remarkable debut season, the former football player won the Tour of Belgium, the Clasica San Sebastian, and the European time trial title, reaffirming comparisons with Eddy Merckx.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step manager Patrick Lefevere moved quickly to sign Evenepoel last summer and recently announced he had shook on a deal with Evenepoel’s father, who acts as his agent.
Evenepoel had a contract lasting until 2020 but his new deal will no doubt be far more remunerative. He posted a photograph on social media as he inked his new deal with Lefevere.
"I am happy and proud that I have extended my stay with Deceuninck-Quick-Step and I will continue to build my future together with this amazing group," Evenepoel said.
"The team have believed in me from the very beginning and that means a lot. Signing a new deal was the logical thing to do and after talking with Patrick about it, I agreed immediately. Deceuninck-Quick-Step is the perfect environment for me, a second family where we are always working together to improve with passion, professionalism and commitment, and this is a very important aspect for me."
Evenepoel has recently completed a training camp at altitude in the Alps and will return to competition next week at the Deutschland Tour. He is likely to target a place in the Belgian team for the time trial at the World Championships in the hope of also securing a spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
"This year has been incredible so far. Nobody was expecting such a solid string of results, myself included. Ok, I was dreaming about winning some races, but didn’t think it will actually happen," Evenepoel said.
"The season is not over yet but we are already talking about future goals and I feel that everybody wants to help me in everything I want to achieve. We share the same vision, ideas and mentality, and they always give me the best advice to improve. We will continue with my development one step at a time and hopefully our hard work will continue to pay off."
Lefevere builds the future of Deceuninck-QuickStep
Lefevere has always admitted he has limited financial resources and he has built the future of Deceuninck-QuickStep around Julian Alaphilippe and now Evenepoel. He has let sprinter Elia Viviani, Grand Tour contender Enric Mas, and Paris-Roubaix winner Philippe Gilbert go, and signed a number of lesser riders to rebuild his roster for 2020. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) is expected to replace Viviani as lead sprinter.
Lefevere recently travelled to Monte Carlo with Evenepoel’s parents to search for a place to live for his protégé, although Lefevere suggested he’d rather see Evenepoel opt for Andorra, which doesn’t have the distractions and temptations of the south of France.
"We are extremely happy with this agreement. Remco isn’t just a talented rider, but also a great person, and everybody in the team that got to work with him knows that. We believe that he can have a bright future in cycling. We put our trust in him and he has a lot of confidence in us," Lefevere said.
"In the first months of his career, he really hit the ground running and dazzled everyone, exceeding all expectations. In spite of that, we won’t let ourselves get carried away, and instead continue with our well-structured program as well as adapting to his continuous development, while remaining at all times in contact with Remco and his family, as was the case since he has joined our team."
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