Patrick Lefevere says Remco Evenepoel is “a completely different rider” from last year’s Giro d’Italia

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Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl boss Patrick Lefevere says the Remco Evenepoel the peloton will see at the Vuelta a España later this month is nothing compared to the rider who dropped out on his grand tour debut at the Giro d’Italia last year.

Evenepoel, 22, is set to win the Clásica San Sebastián on Saturday, and Lefevere said the explosive performance is just a hint of what fans and rivals should expect in the Spanish grand tour .

“There is no point in comparing the Remco of the Giro with the Remco that will soon be racing the Vuelta,” said Lefevere. Het Nieuwsblad. “He became a completely different driver.”

Lefevere is a strong supporter of the budding Belgian superstar, but has warned his young protege is not racing the Vuelta to win, but rather to learn.

“Remco is a better athlete in every way, but that doesn’t mean he will race the Vuelta to win it. Above all, we want him to grow as a rider,” he told the Belgian daily: “He’s going to start afresh and the past has proven that he ran better. Our goal is to win a stage with him and then we’ll see how far he goes in the standings. That’s all you need to look for behind our ambitions.

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Speaking to the media ahead of last weekend’s La Clásica, Evenepoel echoed those same observations.

He said he was 2kg lighter than two years ago and was entering the Vuelta with modest overall ambitions but with the motivation to light up the race to win at least one stage. After a three-week high camp in Italy, Evenepoel has chosen not to race the Vuelta a Burgos this week and will cool its jets until the August 19 start in the Netherlands.

“It’s hard to say that I have a specific goal for the general classification at the start of the race,” Evenepoel said. “If I can get out of the Vuelta with a stage win or two, then you say it’s a good Vuelta. The main thing is to win a stage. The GC will be extra.

Team coach Koen Pelgrim also said the preparation for this Vuelta was much better than last year’s Giro, which saw Evenepoel retire last week after recovering from his horrific crash. in a ravine during the 2020 edition of Il Lombardia.

“With such a broad base, he should be able to recover from his exertions faster, perform more stably and maintain his condition for three weeks,” Pelgrim told the Daily. “Making more runs only increased his confidence. By using it in the sprint train, he also learned to find his way around the peloton even better.

“He can now save energy a lot easier by being in the right position and you won’t see him wasting his powers anymore,” he said. “The fact that this is his second big tour is also something that should give him more peace of mind. He now knows what to expect.

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