Vincenzo Nibali has urged Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) to delay his Tour de France debut and target the Giro d’Italia in 2023.
Evenepoel soared to a maiden Grand Tour title at La Vuelta in September, fuelling excitement over a potential showdown with Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) at the Tour next year.
But Nibali, who rode into retirement at Il Lombardia earlier in October, advised the Belgian to pursue a “gradual development”.
'I look forward to it' - Evenepoel says Giro d'Italia 2023 time trials 'suit me well'
"I'd target the Giro in 2023 if I was Remco Evenepoel,” said the Italian at the Giro route presentation in Milan on Monday.
“He won the Vuelta and so a gradual development is the best way to go in Grand Tours.
“It can be another important step in his development as a rider."
Evenepoel capped a sensational season with the World Championship road race title in September, adding to his wins at La Vuelta and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
The 2023 Giro is expected to boast a strong field, with Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) among those who could compete.
Thomas finished third at the 2022 Tour behind Vingegaard and Pogacar, while Roglic was Evenepoel’s closest challenger in Spain before a freak crash ended his hopes of a fourth straight title.
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Evenepoel best bits at La Vuelta
Route organisers have faced criticism for scheduling the final stage in Rome, leaving the peloton with a 750km transfer from northern Italy to the capital.
With that stage set to be a procession, the Giro is set to be decided on the individual time trial from Tarvision to Monte Lussari on Stage 20 – something that will undoubtedly appeal to Evenepoel.
"It's a great-looking Giro. It's well-balanced,” said Nibali.
“The climbs start early in the south and then keep coming. The final time trial will be interesting and scary for the riders because they will almost certainly switch from time trial bikes to road bikes for the concrete road up to the finish."
Evenepoel made his Grand Tour debut at the 2021 Giro but abandoned in the final week.
The 2023 edition begins on May 6 in Fossacesia and finishes on May 28.
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Tour de France
Lefevere hints at Tour de France debut for Evenepoel in 2024
Vuelta a España
‘More chances to do the Vuelta’ – Pogacar prioritising Spanish race ahead of Giro d’Italia
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