Evenepoel tests Tour de France form in Critérium du Dauphiné debut

Remco Evenepoel will begin racing again at the Critérium du Dauphiné following his crash at the Itzulia Basque Country. This week-long French stage race serves as a crucial part of his preparation for the Tour de France. The 24-year-old Belgian leads a Soudal Quick-Step team that includes many of the riders who will support him in his Tour de France debut in July, where he aims for overall success.

Neo-pro Antoine Huby, James Knox, Mikel Landa, Gianni Moscon, Casper Pedersen, and Ilan Van Wilder will support Evenepoel at the Dauphiné, which runs from June 2-9. Evenepoel has been training at altitude in Sierra Nevada, Spain, after undergoing surgery to fix his broken collarbone from the crash. Despite being back in training, Evenepoel admits he is not yet at his best and therefore downplays his overall ambitions for the Critérium du Dauphiné.

“I am looking forward to returning to racing. I’m in a good place after the crash in Itzulia and the injuries I sustained there but there is still some work to do so I get back to my top shape,” Evenepoel said as Soudal-QuickStep confirmed their line-up for the French stage race. “I’m happy to discover the Dauphiné, but I will look less towards my general classification position, as this will be more a chance to return to the race rhythm and see where I’m at.”

Race Details and Course

The 2024 Critérium du Dauphiné starts on Sunday, June 2nd, and ends a week later. The race begins in the Allier department and heads east into the Alps, featuring summit finishes at Collet d’Allevard, Samoëns 1600, and the Plateau des Glières finale. There’s a rising 34.4km time trial on stage 4 and two stages set for sprinters on stage 1 and 5. However, the Dauphiné peloton is set to face a week dominated by climbing.

The Dauphiné serves as the last major test before this summer’s Tour de France, which starts in a month in Florence, Italy. Evenepoel is expected to return to altitude training and race the Belgian National Championships before heading to the Tour de France.

“The many summit finishes will be important, as they will give us the chance to see where Remco stands at this point in the season,” said Soudal-QuickStep directeur sportif Tom Steels. “We also want to discover how he will fare in the time trial, which will be his first since that injury. It’s going to be a hard race, with a demanding course overall and a tough weekend.”

Steels remains optimistic but cautious. “The confidence is there, the team is very good, consisting mainly of strong and experienced riders, but the plan is to take it one day at a time as we know we still have some progression to make.”

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