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Remco Evenepoel off the bike for three more weeks as ‘mistakes’ delay progress

Deceuninck-Quick-Step reveals Evenepoel's injuries require further time to heal after making too hasty a return to the bike.

It’s three weeks and counting for Remco Evenepoel.

The Belgian phenom’s Deceuninck-Quick-Step team confirmed Tuesday that the injuries he sustained in a horrible crash last summer required would need more time to heal prior to the resumption of on-bike training.

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“As part of his continued rehabilitation process, Remco Evenepoel underwent a scan on Monday in order to assess the progress of the injuries which he incurred as a result of his crash while competing in last August’s Il Lombardia,” read the statement.

“Upon assessment of the scan results, it has been decided that Remco will take a further short period of recuperation and rehabilitation before returning to on-bike training. While the scan revealed no further damage to his pelvis, the decision has been made in order to allow his injuries further time in which to fully heal.”

Evenepoel, who will turn 21 years old next week, made a return to the saddle at the close of last year with early indications suggesting he was making rapid progress as he rebuilt ahead of planned starts at this year’s Giro d’Italia and Olympic Games. Speaking to Belgian media Monday, team boss Patrick Lefevere revealed that the initial comeback may have come too soon.

“It almost went too well,” Lefevere told De Tribune podcast. “Apparently the growth of the bone did not go as fast as everyone thought. He was in pain, but he did not say that. He thought that it was part of the rehabilitation.”

Evenepoel broke the news about the U-turn in his condition during a team training camp in Spain last week, expressing frustration he could not join team training rides. Lefevere revealed that his young star will have at least three more weeks to wait.

“We hoped that he would cycle again from tomorrow, but we will not take any more risks,” Lefevere said Monday. “So he will probably stay off the bike for another three weeks. Then we arrive at February 8, exactly three months before the start of the Giro.”

Lefevere stated that he thinks three months in the saddle should give Evenepoel the time to find form ahead of his highly-anticipated grand tour debut. The veteran manager also outlined “Plan Bs” for any further delay in the 20-year-old’s comeback, with a start at the Vuelta a España after riding the Tokyo Olympic road race the most likely option.

Above all, Lefevere did not want to hasten Evenepoel’s return when he still has some decades of racing ahead of him.

“We will not go the same again, the mistake of starting over too soon,” he said.