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Can Remco Evenepoel top 2022? Belgian star admits it won’t be easy

Giro d'Italia, Il Lombardia, world title defense highlight ambitions across rainbow jersey season.

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How does Remco Evenepoel top 2022? He promises to go down swinging for some of cycling’s most prized trophies.

The Belgian superstar outlined his season goals for 2023, and they’re juicy ones.

Front and center is the Giro d’Italia, setting up what could be the most exciting and tactical GC battle among the season’s three grand tours.

Behind that are a string of high-profile one-day races that will give him plenty to shoot for in 2023.

“It’s hard to imagine a better season than this one, but I hope that’s the case,” Evenepoel said. “We are setting some high goals.

“My four objectives this season are the Giro, Clásica San Sebastián, the world championships, and hopefully Il Lombardia,” Evenepoel told RTBF. “If I can pull off one of these three or four, that would already be very special.”

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Evenepoel admits his dream season in 2022 will be hard to top.

He won Belgium’s first grand tour in four decades and doubled that up with the world title. Wins at the Clásica San Sebastián and Liège-Bastogne-Liège were the cherries on top of the cake.

He’s been on a never-ending awards season ever since but insists he’s buckling down with intense training camps in Spain ahead of his season debut later this month.

“The rainbow jersey is something special, and it will be hard to do it again like last year,” he said, hinting that he knows he will be a marked man in 2023. “We are certainly going to try and we will win some races.”

Evenepoel, starting his fifth pro season later this month in Argentina, is setting the bar high in 2023.

The Soudal Quick-Step star steered clear of a Tour de France debut in his rainbow jersey season in part because the Giro course is laden with time trials that clearly favor his skillset.

Evenepoel has unfinished business with Lombardia, where a crash in 2020 nearly ended his career.

One goal missing on that wish list is a defense of his Liège-Bastogne-Liège title.

Evenepoel won it in spectacular fashion in 2022 with a long-range solo attack, but its proximity to the start of the Giro — barely two weeks later — might not see Evenepoel in full splendor for La Doyenne in April.

“I will try to do my best a Liège,” Evenepoel said. “It will be complicated because Liège is just ahead of the start of the Giro and my preparation will be focused on the Giro. Lombardia will be a bigger goal than Liège, but I will try anyway. Why not try to win it a second time?”

Evenepoel’s calendar might not see many opportunities for him to square off against the likes of Tadej Pogačar or Jonas Vingegaard.

In fact, it’s likely that all three will not cross swords at any race across 2023, with the possible exception of worlds. Vingegaard indicated he likely will not race Liège, while Pogačar and Evenepoel might only face off at the UAE Tour or perhaps Liège if Pogačar races it.

The Giro will see plenty of marquee names, with Primož Roglič, Geraint Thomas, defending champion Jai Hindley, and Aleksandr Vlasov among the confirmed starters.

Remco Evenepoel’s calendar for 2023

Tour de San Juan (January 22-29)
UAE Tour (February 20-26)
Volta a Catalunya (March 20-26)
Brabantse Pijl (April 12)
Flèche Wallonne (April 19)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 23)
Giro d’Italia (May 6-28)
Clásica San Sebastián (July 29)
World championships (August)
Il Lombardia (October 7)