Remco Evenepoel skipped Belgium's team debrief after World Championships road race in Flanders, claims Jasper Stuyven
Belgian missed out on a medal at their home World Championships, with Stuyven finishing fourth. Evenepoel had been deployed in support of team leader Wout Van Aert, who failed to follow Julian Alaphilippe as the Frenchman brilliantly secured his second consecutive rainbow jersey. Stuyven claims that the talented 21-year-old then missed Belgium's team meeting.
Belgian Tim Declercq, Belgian Wout van Aert, Belgian Tiesj Benoot, Belgian Remco Evenepoel, Belgian Jasper Stuyven, Belgian Victor Campenaerts, Belgian Dylan Teuns and Belgian Yves Lampaert pictured in action during a training session in Flanders
The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider was heavily criticised for his role in Belgium's failure to win gold at the Olympics, when van Aert finished second, including by Eddy Merckx.
Stuyven explained to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad that team manager Sven Vanthourenhout had arranged a virtual meeting five days after the Worlds road race to talk through their failure to medal, with Evenepoel a notable absentee.
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"Everyone was there, except Remco [Evenepoel]," Stuyven revealed.
"He was aware, but didn't think it was necessary.
"I think that is a shame, especially because he thought it necessary to say things on TV. That stuck with some of us."
Evenepoel had won silver a week before at the European Championships in northern Italy but explained how he had felt unable to challenge in Flanders, instead following team orders in support of van Aert.
Stuyven believes that one of the peloton's most prodigiously talented riders must learn not to speak so publicly after disappointing his compatriots with his comments, while also casting meeting Evenepoel's claims that he could have beaten trade teammate Alaphilippe with scepticism.
"A super-strong rider – which he certainly is – should realise that some things should remain internal," Stuyven continued.
"I think that Remco should sometimes be slowed down by his entourage. He still has to learn when he can and cannot say things.
"What he did – ride full in the early break, gesticulate and be omnipresent until the final started – any sub-topper can do. But even if he had spared himself, he would never have ridden away from Alaphilippe."