I can only explain it so many times.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.
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.