Deceuninck-Quick-Step plays down Remco Evenepoel recovery concerns

Team confident Evenepoel has time to rehab nagging injuries ahead of planned grand tour debut at the Giro d'Italia.

Remco Evenepoel is still on track for his Giro d’Italia debut, believe team insiders.

The 20-year-old wunderkind dropped a bombshell this week when he revealed that his recovery from his horrific crash this summer had taken a U-turn. Describing ongoing pain where he fractured his pelvis last August, Evenepoel said he was off the bike and unable to join his Deceuninck-Quick-Step colleagues on their team rides while on camp in Spain.

Speaking to Sporza on Friday, team director Tom Steels said that Evenepoel’s highly-anticipated grand tour debut and Olympic ambitions were not under threat despite the setback.

“Sometimes it is what it is and you have to take a rest – you should not force certain things,” Steels said. “There is no problem in terms of his program. There is certainly still time for the Giro.”

Steels did not put a timeline on Evenepoel’s comeback, but his comments reflect the youngster’s assertions during his team press conference this week that “I’m not behind [progress], from the first day on we said that that we were trying to be 100 percent on the bike again in February.”

Steels said that the about-turn in Evenepoel’s rehab from a shattered pelvis was a mere blip as he prepares for a planned start at the Giro in May.

“I think it is not too bad in itself,” Steels said. “The most annoying thing is that you are now in a group that is fully building up and you are out of there.”

“The structure for Remco has just shifted, but purely physically and in terms of preparation that doesn’t make much difference. It’s just difficult to be patient while you want to work hard to build up your fitness. That’s annoying, but of passing nature.”