Remco Evenepoel picks his Giro d’Italia train: ‘It’s no secret I want to do a good GC’
The foundations of the 'Remco Express' are taking shape as the world champion barrels toward the pink jersey.
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The “Remco Express” is starting to take shape around Remco Evenepoel and his unbridled grand tour ambitions.
Soudal Quick-Step was long renowned for its classics and sprinter prowess, but all that’s being scrambled in real-time with the sudden and seemingly limitless rise of the reigning world champion.
The brash Belgian barrels toward the Giro d’Italia with a strong support crew, with Evenepoel’s goal of wearing pink in Rome as the team’s primary aim.
“There’s no secret that I aim to do a good general classification,” Evenepoel said Tuesday. “I can count on a very good team, we are all motivated and prepared to do our best.”
Evenepoel’s quick rise to the front echelon of grand tour candidates is seeing Quick-Step reshuffle its deck behind the scenes.
The team ran flat across the pavé this spring, with Evenepoel stepping up to save the team’s pride with another solo victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège to close out the spring classics.
Evenepoel arrives in Italy with the world champion’s jersey and a team dedicated to supporting his GC ambitions.
The 2023 Giro is only his third grand tour start, and marks a return for some unsettled business of sorts for dynamic Belgian superstar who flamed out in his debut in 2021.
“Racing in Italy is always special,” he said. “I love it there, I love the amazing ‘tifosi’ and their passion for cycling, so I am excited about world champion makes it even more special, as I am keen on honoring this beautiful rainbow jersey that I will sport every day for the next three weeks.”
Backing Evenepoel are the building blocks of the Evenepoel grand tour support system.
Back from last year’s Vuelta a España winning team are Pieter Serry, Ilan Van Wilder, and Louis Vervaeke. All three chaperone Evenepoel’s every move, and can carry him deep into the climbs.
One name missing from last year’s Vuelta squad is Fausto Masnada, who pulled out of the recent Tour de Romandie with illness. The Italian climber, who’s also been impacted by saddle sores, later pulled himself out of consideration for racing the Giro because he felt he wasn’t up to the task of helping Evenepoel, the Belgian media reported.
Also tapped are Josef Cerny, who won the opening Romandie prologue, Jan Hirt, who was sixth overall last year in the 2022 Giro, and Mattia Cattaneo.
Davide Ballerini will give the team some presence in the mass gallops, but the Italian will also provide muscle on the transition stages.
Perhaps one chink in the armor is a super-domestique similar to a Sepp Kuss at Jumbo-Visma, but Hirt is a proven long-distance rider who can go far into the third week to be there for Evenepoel.
“It’s time for the season’s first grand tour and we can’t wait to get things started, especially as we will race it with the world champion in our ranks,” said Soudal Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati.
“We travel to Italy with a strong team, riders who are all determined to do a good race, show the ‘Wolfpack’ spirit and help Remco get the best possible result in the general classification.”
After a long spell at altitude, Evenepoel is ready for his clash with Primož Roglič, who got the best of him at the Volta a Catalunya in March.
Soudal Quick-Step for the Giro d’Italia
Davide Ballerini (ITA)
Mattia Cattaneo (ITA)
Josef Cerny (CZE)
Remco Evenepoel (BEL)
Jan Hirt (CZE)
Pieter Serry (BEL)
Ilan Van Wilder (BEL)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL)