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Teams & Riders The Remco Evenepoel is the next Eddy Merckx thread

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With this mentality (basically you only go to races you think you can win) he'll never ride the Tour at all. The truth is that for the forseeable future Evenepoel at the Tour will have to deal with Vingeggard and Pogacar. What, then, is the difference between this year and any of the coming 5-6? He has already won the Vuelta, had two failed cracks at the Giro, but has never done the Tour. It's the Tour, however, that's the biggest prize. He could win five more Vueltas and nobody outside Belgium would really care. But if he wins just one Tour anybody around the world even casually watching will take notice.

Yet I doubt when Evenepoel goes to the Tour for the first time, even in optimal condition, he wins against fully prepared and healthy Vingo and Pog. Lemond went to the Tour for the first time in 84 and got 3rd, in 85 and got 2nd, in 86 and finally won, which is to say experience counts greatly. It's extremely rare that a rider wins the Grand Bouclé in his first attempt, all the more so against the likes of generational talents such as Vingo and Pog. Hence, I think if Remco one day is going to win the Tour, he will need to race it more than once.

Not sending him to the Tour because it doesn't follow this year's plan? Fine. However, neither does going to the Vuelta. As I see it, the team should be asking itself: between the Tour and Vuelta, which experience would serve him better at this point in his career? Patrick has said, nobody in Belgium would be happy with sending him to the Tour now only for experience. Really? Would they be any less unhappy when he's sent to the Tour to win and doesn't (also because he's got no experience of the race)? Unfortunately, I think this will be the more likely scenario and again, as he's already won the Vuelta, what's holding him back if the goal is to win the Tour sooner than later? Wouldn't it, therefore, be better to get started now (also for the team, which seems to need much work towards acheiving the Big One)? There is also to consider that if it's stated he starts the Tour with no GC goal in mind, with a legitimate excuse of an abandoned Giro that led to plan B, then he doesn't have any pressure. He could finish 50th or top 3. Either way he gains invaluable experience for future attempts at a possible win. Moreover, in cycling anything can happen during one's career, the perils of the sport and pitfalls of life being what they are. So you never can bank on things always going to plan. Evenepoel has already gone over a bridge, not to mention catching Covid at the worst possible moment, literally ruining months of work; thus Soudal should know this all too well. Lemond got shot. Someone else needed knee surgery, another was hit by a car, etc. Consequently, playing the waiting game can be just as risky, as constant prudence by over-managing and over-protecting your star can lead to missed opportunities. At a certain point, you just have to give it a go, imho.

I hope I'm wrong and that Evenepoel goes to the Tour according to the plan and wins, but something tells me Soudal is being overly cautious. Of course, what Evenepoel wants is paramount. But here too, is the rider being manipulated by those who believe they've got his best interests in mind (with good intentions), but perhaps are actually stifling his growth? I wonder.
I can only explain it so many times.

It's not just the fact that he is not prepared and will not be in his best possible shape, while the others will be (maybe Pog not 100% due to his wrist). It is also the fact that he has other goals this year, that would be jeopardised greatly by going to the Tour. So for what? Just to prove he has the right mentality to some people? lol. Chances of winning the Tour are slim under these circumstances. Chances of winning the WCC (TT) would as a result of riding the Tour, also be greatly diminished. This has nothing to do with "mentality", it has to do with common sense.

But apparently he should discard genuine chances to win a WCC, a Vuelta and a monument, just to be an outsider for the 3rd podium spot at the Tour.
 
I can only explain it so many times.

It's not just the fact that he is not prepared and will not be in his best possible shape, while the others will be (maybe Pog not 100% due to his wrist). It is also the fact that he has other goals this year, that would be jeopardised greatly by going to the Tour. So for what? Just to prove he has the right mentality to some people? lol. Chances of winning the Tour are slim under these circumstances. Chances of winning the WCC (TT) would as a result of riding the Tour, also be greatly diminished. This has nothing to do with "mentality", it has to do with common sense.
Explain it as many times as you want, but the fact is that Remco is losing now. He's getting backlogged against those practically equally as young who were thrown into the limelight early and excelled. The other goals of the year were the same as in the past. They didn't go to plan always, but nothing changes.

I fear Belgium is holding him back. Is this not obvious?

PS. I realize winning Worlds, Lombardia and all is nice, but he's not Paolo Bettini. Remco needs to win the Tour, but if they don't bring him there he never shall.
 
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Not sure why people (his team, the press, his fans, whoever) feel like the only time he can enter a GT or even any big race is when he’s favored to win. What other rider operates to this metric? Now or historically? Bizarre.

He’s not going to the Tour largely (it would seem) due to the team having had a plan to ride for Jacobsen and Alaphillipe. Yes, form and optimizing the season has to come into it, but the blather about him not riding the Vuelta suggests there are other very strange considerations involved.

The arguments not to go to the Tour make sense if and only if he rides the Vuelta. I get that he really likes that rainbow jersey, I would too. And that’s a factor. But any one day race is far more a crapshoot than a stage race. If he’s basing his season on just those two WC events, that’s simply a huge mistake he will regret, short of winning the RR and the TT at the Worlds. Maybe even then.
 
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Remco needs to win the Tour, but if they don't bring him there he never shall.
Under these circumstances he isn't going to win the Tour regardless. So if that is what he has to do according to you, there is no point in going to the Tour this year. And there is certainly no point in sacrificing other goals for it.

Not sure why people (his team, the press, his fans, whoever) feel like the only time he can enter a GR or even any big race is when he’s favored to win. What other rider operates to this metric? Now or historically? Bizarre.

He’s not going to the Tour largely (it would seem) due to the team having had a plan to ride for Jacobsen and Alaphillipe. Yes, form and optimizing the season has to come into it, but the blather about him not riding the Vuelta suggests there are other very strange considerations involved.

The arguments not to go to the Tour make sense if and only if he rides the Vuelta. I get that he really likes that rainbow jersey, I would too. And that’s a factor. But any one day race is far more a crapshoot than a stage race. If he’s basing his season on just those two WC events, that’s simply a huge mistake he will regret, short of winning the RR and the TT at the Worlds. Maybe even then.
The metric i'm using is not that he has to win. The metric is that there has to be a realistic chance to get the result that he should set as a goal under normal circumstances. If his goal is a podium at the Tour, and he thinks he is in good enough shape to reach or come close to that goal, then fine by me. But if his goal is to win the TDF, and he thinks the best he can do under these circumstances is a top 5, then i do not see why on earth he should go for that if that means sacrificing other goals.

But yes, i agree about it only making sense if it means him going to the Vuelta. As i said weeks ago, i don't buy Lefevere's "No Tour, no Vuelta" comments. They don't make sense. Especially since the Vuelta comes after the WCC.
 
Can't ride the Tour because it wasn't planned? Funny stuff. It's not like there is a button you push in the beginning of the year and the you automatically get top form when planned, and are down in form later. It can all be tweaked. A lot of "form" is freshness anyway, runners like Bekele were winning almost year round, good times too. Enough time to recover in between. races.

Giving up after 9 days of the Giro, Remco has ample time to get back into top form. Recover from Covid, keep his fitness at a high level, will be in form and fresh for the Tour. He and Lefevre don't want to do it, that's fine too, but his fans coming up with these fantasy reasons why it makes no sense? Ridiculous.

He can ride whatever he wants, IMO either Tour or Vuelta would be nice, but if he thinks the Tour and the Worlds don't fit well, then not riding the Tour makes perfect sense. If he thinks the Vuelta interferes with Lombardia, then don't ride it.
 
Under these circumstances he isn't going to win the Tour regardless. So if that is what he has to do according to you, there is no point in going to the Tour this year. And there is certainly no point in sacrificing other goals for it.
What you don't understand is that performance is not a linear equation, but cyclical. For this reason, it's time for someone who wants to win the Tour to enter the cycle. And it's not "according to me", but the sport with someone of his calibre.
 
Not sure why people (his team, the press, his fans, whoever) feel like the only time he can enter a GR or even any big race is when he’s favored to win. What other rider operates to this metric? Now or historically? Bizarre.
There may be a concern of having to deal with a plethora of acerbic comments about how Evenepoel is not what he's made out to be if he can't match Vingegaard/Pogacar.
 
What you don't understand is that performance is not a linear equation, but cyclical. For this reason, it's time for someone who wants to win the Tour to enter the cycle. And it's not "according to me", but the sport with someone of his calibre.
Yes, tell me how i don't understand that there will be a new chance to ride the Tour NEXT YEAR when he can be fully prepared. Because clearly i'm the one not grasping that.
 
Not sure why people (his team, the press, his fans, whoever) feel like the only time he can enter a GR or even any big race is when he’s favored to win. What other rider operates to this metric? Now or historically? Bizarre.

He’s not going to the Tour largely (it would seem) due to the team having had a plan to ride for Jacobsen and Alaphillipe. Yes, form and optimizing the season has to come into it, but the blather about him not riding the Vuelta suggests there are other very strange considerations involved.

The arguments not to go to the Tour make sense if and only if he rides the Vuelta. I get that he really likes that rainbow jersey, I would too. And that’s a factor. But any one day race is far more a crapshoot than a stage race. If he’s basing his season on just those two WC events, that’s simply a huge mistake he will regret, short of winning the RR and the TT at the Worlds. Maybe even then.

Hmm. I understand this on one level…

However, I believe the opposite is true, frankly. Look at the Giro, look at his crash in the Vuelta that almost dashed all his plans. Look at all Roglic and G’s abandons. Meanwhile, Remco has as good a hit rate as almost any at one day and weeklong races. He also races with abandon, which is what I cherish most. His GT racing, by necessity, has to be way more conservative and therefore less fun to watch.
 
Yes, tell me how i don't understand that there will be a new chance to ride the Tour NEXT YEAR when he can be fully prepared. Because clearly i'm the one not grasping that.
Sorry, but this is a distraction from addressing the real issue, namely Soudal is pussyfooting around. Who says he goes to the Tour NEXT YEAR fully prepared? They thought that for the Giro 2020, until he fell off a bridge. They thought that for this Giro until Covid struck!
 
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I believe some of his fans would rather not see him at all rather than watch him race at the highest level where to possibility to fail is pretty high. Just for perspective every cyclist has a much higher chance to not win a particular event then to win it.

I actually think the opposite is true.

I am a fan and would like him to limit his GT attempts as it takes him away from so many races where he can light it up and be exciting. In my dream, he would race more, just not focus on GTs that requires riders to abandon most other goals for months at a time…

On the other hand it is almost exclusively Remco detractors who want him at the TDF (ill-prepared)…dropping time and hunting stages ffs! He ultimately basically did that at the Giro this year and most of you think it was a failure.
 
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What you don't understand is that performance is not a linear equation, but cyclical. For this reason, it's time for someone who wants to win the Tour to enter the cycle. And it's not "according to me", but the sport with someone of his calibre.
I would agree with those that suggest preparation is key both physically and psychologically.
Defining Remco as possessing a certain "calibre" and only in the game if he can win it doesn't make much sense. He doesn't know what he doesn't know and I'd wager he'd just like to get onto it, ride races and learn what it takes to win beyond his current comfort zone. Unfortunately the investment others have placed on his talents seems to be the prime concern in his management team's planning. Unfortunate and I'm looking forward to him taking chances on events to learn his limits.
 
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I would agree with those that suggest preparation is key both physically and psychologically.
Defining Remco as possessing a certain "calibre" and only in the game if he can win it doesn't make much sense. He doesn't know what he doesn't know and I'd wager he'd just like to get onto it, ride races and learn what it takes to win beyond his current comfort zone. Unfortunately the investment others have placed on his talents seems to be the prime concern in his management team's planning. Unfortunate and I'm looking forward to him taking chances on events to learn his limits.
Preparation is indubbitably the key, but you can't always bank on everything going to plan. There is risk, there is misfortune, there is not living up to expectations. It's life. They have been planning an assault of the Tour for several years now, but problems arose and he has yet to even ride one. Meanwhile two young champions keep gaining experience and winning. Me thinks the Belgians are going to kill the Belgian.
 
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I actually think the opposite is true.

I am a fan and would like him to limit his GT attempts as it takes him away from so many races where he can light it up and be exciting. In my dream, he would race more, just not focus on GTs that requires riders to abandon most other goals for months at a time…

On the other hand it is almost exclusively Remco detractors who want him at the TDF (ill-prepared)…dropping time and hunting stages ffs! He ultimately basically did that at the Giro this year and most of you think it was a failure.
Fair enough. But in this case start comparing him to Bettini or Gilbert or Alaphilippe rather than with Merckx or Rog or Pog.
 
Fair enough. But in this case start comparing him to Bettini or Gilbert or Alaphilippe rather than with Merckx or Rog or Pog.

never compared him to merckx.

i am not saying he won't win more GTs. He will. He already has more than Ala, Gilbert and Bettini pooled together, LOL. So that would be a horrendous comparison.

i have always said he is more like Hinault. not exactly the same. but there are many similarities.

And he could outdo Rog even focusing on only one GT per year.

He is likely to have more GTs in hand than Vingo at his present age.

when remco came onto the scene, I was ridiculed for suggesting that he may end up with either the most LBL or Lombardia wins. well, he isn't doing too badly there so far (particularly since he lost one opportunity at least with his crash). and earlier on these very pages, i suggested that he could be the first to win road and TT championships at every level - national, euro and world (and olympics?). no one else has come close.

he needs to forge his own career and palmares, not try to emulate someone else...

btw pog only has one more GT than remco and is 1 1/2 years older and has had absolutely zero setbacks (until possibly now)...don't get me wrong, pog is the best right now, but their palmares may end up being comparable though not the same.

many here are acting as if pog's trajectory of competing and winning the TDF at 21 is the traditional one. it is not.

btw, remco may yet get to 50 wins before pog (and maybe even merckx) did (and despite losing a year). they may not be the wins you would prioritize since they are not (yet?) in the TDF, but...

primarily, it is his one-day victories and even some of his one-week stage race rides that have been the most exciting, and more so than any other present rider. it is those rides that, as a cycling fan, I do not want to miss out on. his win in the vuelta was great, but certainly not that exciting, since he was forced to be so conservative (for him) and the crash did not help. LBL, San Sebastian, and Worlds last year were all more impressive and amazing in my view.

More of that, please.
 
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Sorry, but this is a distraction from addressing the real issue, namely Soudal is pussyfooting around. Who says he goes to the Tour NEXT YEAR fully prepared? They thought that for the Giro 2020, until he fell off a bridge. They thought that for this Giro until Covid struck!

Pussyfooting around? If anything, they have done the opposite regarding his GT's. He was going to do the Giro in 2020 after just having turned 20, which was not planned originally. Then they sent him to the Giro in 2021 which was ill advised to say the least after his injury. Would you have liked they sent him to the Tour in 2021? Then what about 2022? Which was the first time he was back to 100% form, but still had not finished a GT. So get the facts straight. This year was the first year they could have sent him to the Tour, but due to the TT's and likely due to expectations, they chose the Giro (again). The fact that he DNF there doesn't mean he should all of a sudden discard every other goal for this year, and go to the Tour, just for the sake of it. Because why on earth does he have to do the Tour? To show "the right mentality"? For "experience"? To go stagehunting? Because you know the chances are against him given the circumstances to go there to win the thing.

Nobody can look into the future, but the plan is to go to the Tour next year, so i imagine they will do whatever they can to be fully prepared. Things can happen happen and who knows maybe something crosses his path and it again doesn't work out. What we DO know for a FACT, is that this year he is certain NOT to be fully prepared.
 
As for the schedule I proposed for Remco for next year being too much, it would only be 64 race days. Not even close to how many Merckx had, less than Valverde's years.

Even less than many of Contador's 2014-2017 seasons

i know you think they do, but these comparisons do not support your argument at all.

Merckx rode in a different era when his competition was doing an equal amount of races, so he was not hurt by competing against more rested, better-prepped riders.

how many GTs did Valverde "win"? one vuelta. so what you are suggesting is that remco should race all of your chosen races in order to never win a single other GT.

;)
 
I can only explain it so many times.

It's not just the fact that he is not prepared and will not be in his best possible shape, while the others will be (maybe Pog not 100% due to his wrist). It is also the fact that he has other goals this year, that would be jeopardised greatly by going to the Tour. So for what? Just to prove he has the right mentality to some people? lol. Chances of winning the Tour are slim under these circumstances. Chances of winning the WCC (TT) would as a result of riding the Tour, also be greatly diminished. This has nothing to do with "mentality", it has to do with common sense.

But apparently he should discard genuine chances to win a WCC, a Vuelta and a monument, just to be an outsider for the 3rd podium spot at the Tour.
The two things that don't make sense to me about your position are:
  1. You say the others will be in top shape, unlike Remco, but then you point that, wait, actually Remco will have had prep at least as good as Pogacar, one of the two that most see as a viable winner. So it's just Vingegaard.
  2. Why are you so adamant that he will be an outsider for the 3rd podium spot? Many, many, many GTs have been won by people with less than optimal prep, including Roglic in this Giro and in his 3 Vueltas. All it takes is one crash for Vingegaard and they're on equal footing. If he's as good as you think he is, he definitely has a shot at a win.
Under these circumstances he isn't going to win the Tour regardless. So if that is what he has to do according to you, there is no point in going to the Tour this year. And there is certainly no point in sacrificing other goals for it.


The metric i'm using is not that he has to win. The metric is that there has to be a realistic chance to get the result that he should set as a goal under normal circumstances. If his goal is a podium at the Tour, and he thinks he is in good enough shape to reach or come close to that goal, then fine by me. But if his goal is to win the TDF, and he thinks the best he can do under these circumstances is a top 5, then i do not see why on earth he should go for that if that means sacrificing other goals.

But yes, i agree about it only making sense if it means him going to the Vuelta. As i said weeks ago, i don't buy Lefevere's "No Tour, no Vuelta" comments. They don't make sense. Especially since the Vuelta comes after the WCC.
See point 2 above. Why is it you are so adamant about this completely ruining Remco's condition while also asking us to believe that Roglic crashing out of last year's Tour, breaking vertebrae, and racing with a messed up shoulder that required surgery during the off season had no impact on his condition during the last Vuelta. Unbelievable double standards.
I actually think the opposite is true.

I am a fan and would like him to limit his GT attempts as it takes him away from so many races where he can light it up and be exciting. In my dream, he would race more, just not focus on GTs that requires riders to abandon most other goals for months at a time…

On the other hand it is almost exclusively Remco detractors who want him at the TDF (ill-prepared)…dropping time and hunting stages ffs! He ultimately basically did that at the Giro this year and most of you think it was a failure.
I don't see many people advocating for Remco to race, drop time, and hunt stages. Most people just think he should ride the Tour. I am personally fine with him saying he's targeting another Vuelta instead and going for that instead. But many of us don't understand why so many professional races go for it no matter what - poor prep, crashes, injuries, etc. - but for some reason Remco and team are, like, well he got Covid during the Giro, GT season is over.

I do think it is very clear that some of us come from GT-centric world views and some from classic-centric world views, which could explain some discrepancies. For me, he is a top contender for either the Tour or the Vuelta, regardless of a little Covid (unless he is having ongoing issues I have not heard about) and should prioritize the Tour if he think he thinks he can be close to peak form or the Vuelta if he does not.
 
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i know you think they do, but these comparisons do not support your argument at all.

Merckx rode in a different era when his competition was doing an equal amount of races, so he was not hurt by competing against more rested, better-prepped riders.

how many GTs did Valverde "win"? one vuelta. so what you are suggesting is that remco should race all of your chosen races in order to never win a single other GT.

;)

Contador was winning GTs despite doing that many race days
 
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Not all race days are the same. Seasons with 4 stage races before the Ardennes don't happen that much anymore. Race days aren't the best metric either, cause the guys with the most race days are the guys who do all the stage races without peaking for any one day race.

If I were Evenepoel I would just copy paste Pogacar's 2022 schedule apart from Dauphine instead of Slovenia. Then after the Tour you reevaluate what you do
 
Pussyfooting around? If anything, they have done the opposite regarding his GT's. He was going to do the Giro in 2020 after just having turned 20, which was not planned originally. Then they sent him to the Giro in 2021 which was ill advised to say the least after his injury. Would you have liked they sent him to the Tour in 2021? Then what about 2022? Which was the first time he was back to 100% form, but still had not finished a GT. So get the facts straight. This year was the first year they could have sent him to the Tour, but due to the TT's and likely due to expectations, they chose the Giro (again). The fact that he DNF there doesn't mean he should all of a sudden discard every other goal for this year, and go to the Tour, just for the sake of it. Because why on earth does he have to do the Tour? To show "the right mentality"? For "experience"? To go stagehunting? Because you know the chances are against him given the circumstances to go there to win the thing.

Nobody can look into the future, but the plan is to go to the Tour next year, so i imagine they will do whatever they can to be fully prepared. Things can happen happen and who knows maybe something crosses his path and it again doesn't work out. What we DO know for a FACT, is that this year he is certain NOT to be fully prepared.
I agree with this, but in the overall economy of his development, I think now is the time to get his feet wet. The Tour isn't the end all be all, but he needs to get started. If I'm wrong I'll bow down to those wiser than me.
 
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Not all race days are the same. Seasons with 4 stage races before the Ardennes don't happen that much anymore. Race days aren't the best metric either, cause the guys with the most race days are the guys who do all the stage races without peaking for any one day race.

If I were Evenepoel I would just copy paste Pogacar's 2022 schedule apart from Dauphine instead of Slovenia. Then after the Tour you reevaluate what you do
I don't think he needs to do SB (maybe not even WP) but for the rest i agree.