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Evenepoel 'too young' to ride Tour de France next year, say Lefevere

Team manager keen to let young talent take aim at Tokyo Olympics in 2020

Joe Robinson
12 Aug 2019

The meteoric talents of teenage 'wunderkind' Remco Evenepoel may not reach the Tour de France in 2020 as Deceuninck-QuickStep team boss Patrick Lefevere admitted the 19-year-old is still too young for cycling's biggest race.

The Belgian teenager has stormed his first year in the WorldTour taking an incredible solo victory at the Classica San Sebastian one-day race earlier this month before being crowned elite time trial champion at the European Championships last week.

This seamless acclimatisation into cycling's top tier has got many furthering the excitement that already surrounds Evenepoel, with some even tipping him for a Tour debut in 2020.

However, experienced team manager Lefevere has told Belgian press that he will be too young to race a Grand Tour but could instead chase gold at the Olympics.

'Remco will still only be 20 next year. That's too early to ride the Tour, if he wants to do the Olympics, I'll let him,' Lefevere told Het Laatste Nieuws.

'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. He will, therefore, have his hands free to prepare for the Olympics.'

The mercurial talents of Belgium's 'next big hope' have seemingly known no bounds in 2019 with the youngster performing well throughout the season, counting five victories this season already.

Understandably, the young Flandrian's many talents have impressed the owners of most WorldTour teams yet Lefevere is confident of securing the services of Evenepoel beyond his one-year contract.

Reports suggest that Lefevere had reached an informal contract extension with Evenepoel's father for an extra year with the option of a further extension through to 2023.

'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.'

Being just 19-years-old, Deceuninck-QuickStep have been managing the race programme of the young rider with the Belgian now entering an extended break before returning at the Deutschland Tour on 29th August.

After that, he will turn his attention to the GP Quebec and Montreal in September before heading to the World Championships in Yorkshire.