Renowned cyclist Remco Evenepoel, who expressed his desire to make his Tour de France debut in 2024, might be rethinking his plans following the unveiling of the Tour de France 2024 route. Patrick Lefevere, the team principal of Soudal Quick-Step, revealed that the simultaneous allure of the Giro d’Italia route has presented Evenepoel with an intriguing opportunity for a potential double endeavor.
Evenepoel, the victor of the 2022 Vuelta a España, was notably absent from the Tour de France presentation in Paris. Nevertheless, Lefevere, his team principal, disclosed that the Giro's enticing features have stirred discussions of a dual Grand Tour participation.
In 2021, Evenepoel made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro, returning in 2023 to clinch a Grand Tour title before COVID-19 forced him to abandon his lead. The 2024 Giro d’Italia will encompass a 68.2-kilometer time trial—a temptation for the reigning time trial world champion.
In contrast, the Tour de France will include a 60-kilometer time trial, with a challenging hilly final-day time trial in Nice. Lefevere stated, "He has an open account with the Giro d’Italia. He is even considering combining the Giro and the Tour." However, discussions within Evenepoel's team indicate a lack of enthusiasm for the Giro-Tour combination, especially considering the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, which might deter this ambitious double attempt.
2024 Tour Challenges
Lefevere added, "With what comes next, with the Olympics, it doesn’t seem like the best idea. We need to draw up a balanced program leading to the Tour. It’s not completely excluded that he will make the Giro-Tour combination, but we advise against it." Analyzing the 2024 Tour de France route, it may pose challenges for Evenepoel compared to the Giro.
With less time trialing and fewer flat terrains, the route does not entirely align with his ultra-aerodynamic strengths. Additionally, the Tour features more demanding climbs, totaling 52,000 meters of elevation gain compared to the Giro's 41,000 meters, potentially favoring two-time winner Jonas Vingegaard.
Lefevere remarked, "It is very tough. I think it is a very difficult Tour de France – more difficult than this year too. It is one of the toughest Tours of recent years." The key stages in the Tour are concentrated in the final third of the race, including two summit finishes in the Pyrenees, followed by a final week comprising three more mountain stages, two additional summit finishes, and a challenging hilly time trial in Nice.
Nevertheless, early challenges are also abundant, with 3,600 meters of elevation on the opening day in Italy, an early ascent of the Galibier in the Alps on stage 4, and a unique 32-kilometer gravel section on stage 9. Lefevere concluded, "Every stage is interesting.
The Tour can already be in play on stage 4. He who doesn't explode wins." As Evenepoel contemplates his 2024 racing calendar, the cycling world eagerly anticipates the decision of this promising young talent.