Christophe Brandt before the Tour of Italy: “Remco Evenepoel is not a runner like the others”
By Eric Clovio and Stéphane Thirion
VSHristophe Brandt, former pro rider and current boss of the Wallonia-Brussels team, gives us his opinion on this first major meeting of the year for the prodigy of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step team.
Remco Evenepoel is going to make his first competition at the start of a Grand Tour, is that conceivable?
It is certainly conceivable because Evenepoel is not a runner like the others, he is an exceptional runner. Now, it’s true that it’s quite astonishing to see that he has no preparation in competitions before his first big deadline. He is a young rider and we should perhaps let him discover the Giro. He goes there with a lot of pressure because the media have a lot of ideas about his capacities. I think it would already be a great victory if he could win one stage or the other. And this, compared to everything he has been through in recent months. In terms of the general classification, it is better to go there after day and then on will see where it leads. Pagacar won the Tour de France a bit like that. I hope for him that he can regain the level he was just before his accident. If this can lead him to victory at the Giro, so much the better, but it is clear that approaching the competition without preparation raises questions. We will see what it will give. I saw that, after the Ardennes classics, Roglic stopped competing and would only resume at the Tour de France. It’s a new approach to cycling. It requires a lot of mental strength because the runners are primarily there to compete and not to train. I’m afraid that the runners will quickly be mentally worn out with this type of program.
The Giro, is it ideal for a first Tour?
In my time, ten years ago, there was much less pressure on the Giro. Today, the media coverage is more important. But I think, in fact, that for Remco Evenepoel it is a good plan to start his career on the big tours. There is not yet the same pressure as in a Tour de France but all the teams go there anyway to win a stage, which was not the case before. The level is therefore very high. However, this remains the best way to discover a Grand Tour.