Tadej Pogacar is backing Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rival Remco Evenepoel to make an appearance in next year’s Tour de France.
Evenepoel’s appearance in next year’s race has yet to be confirmed, with reports suggesting that the Belgian could appear at the Giro d’Italia instead before turning his attention to the Tour in 2024.
One of the Giro’s main attractions for the Belgian is the excess of 70 kilometres of time trialling in the 2023 route.
Evenepoel confirms he will ride at Giro d'Italia in 2023
The reigning world champion has reportedly already decided which Grand Tour he will compete in next year, but has yet to reveal his decision.
However, speaking at the route presentation, the UAE Team Emirates rider admits that he would want to tackle the Tour if placed in Evenepoel’s shoes.
“Remco has to write its own story and put together its own program,” the Pogacar said in quotes published by VeloNews.
“I can’t tell him to come to the Tour. It’s his decision. He is world champion and one of the best riders. But if I was world champion, I would go to the Tour.”
Evenepoel’s prospective appearance at the Tour creates a tantalising prospect for cycling fans, as he would line up alongside Pogacar and Jumbo-Visma rider Jonas Vingegaard for the Grand Depart.
But Pogacar was the only one of the trio present at the 2023 route reveal, as Evenepoel is still on his honeymoon while Vingegaard is currently on a period of rest after winning last year’s Tour.
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Meanwhile, Vingegaard’s appearance at next year’s Tour is also in doubt after Jumbo-Visma sporting director Merijn Zeeman revealed that they had yet to decide on the Dane’s inclusion.
“We have not yet decided that Jonas will go to the Tour,” said Zeeman in quotes published by VeloNews.
“He is currently on vacation and when he returns, I want to hear what he thinks. Obviously, I think it’s pretty obvious that when you win the yellow jersey you want to defend it next year, so he could be taken for granted, but we have absolutely not decided. I want to talk about it first with Jonas and with the other coaches.”
Zeeman added that is a delicate balancing act deciding which riders will take part in the Tour or the Giro d’Italia, with Vingegaard yet to sample the brutal course at Corsa Rosa.
Evenepoel v Pogacar v Vingegaard v Bernal at 2023 Tour de France?
“I also want to hear what Primoz [Roglic] thinks and I want to talk to all our coaches and staff members.
“It will take about two months to prepare all this, then in December we will know what we have to do.
“Obviously, the alternative is the Corsa Rosa, whose route seems suitable for both captains. Jonas has never raced the Giro, so it’s a chance for him if he wants to. He clearly has to be a time trial specialist to win it.
“Obviously, you have to be a complete rider with all that high ground and those very tough mountain stages, but in the time trials there are minutes to gain.
“Look at the two time trials of the Tour, he too is a time trial specialist, especially when he is in his best form. [Tadej] Pogacar is a specialist, as is [Remco] Evenepoel, of course.
"I think that Primoz, Jonas, Pogacar, Evenepoel up to the moment the four best time trial specialists in the world and they can all do very well on the path of this Giro.”
Stream the 2023 Tour de France live and on-demand on discovery+.
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