Remco Evenepoel Is Out of the Tour de France and Vuelta a España

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Evenepoel Is Out of the Tour de France and Vuelta Bas Czerwinski - Getty Images

At the start of the week Remco Evenepoel was atop the Giro d’Italia leaderboard, he won the Stage 9 time trial in dramatic fashion, and then he was forced to leave the tour after testing positive for COVID.

“I am really sorry to be leaving the race. As part of the team’s protocol, I took a routine test, which unfortunately was positive,” stated Evenepoel according to his Soudal Quick-Step team’s news post.

Evenepoel’s Grio departure would force the World Champion to “recalibrate [his] program in the weeks to come,” according to RTBF. A schedule reshuffle is understandable considering how unpredictable COVID aftermaths can be.

“I recently spoke to Greg Van Avermaet and he said: it’s like I’ve never been the same after my corona infection. It does something to you,” said Sporza analyst Jose de Cauwer in an interview with Cycling Up To Date.

Remco will not race the Tour de France

Shortly after Evenepoel left Grio, multiple outlets began asking the inevitable question: Will Evenepoel make his Tour de France debut next month as previously planned and battle it out with Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard? Today, Soudal Quick-Step team manager Patrick Lefevere answered a resounding “no.”

“No, Remco is not going to the Tour. That wouldn’t be very smart either. It is important that he now fully recuperates. We will test his health and then see how he can continue his planning,” said Lefevere according to RTBF.

On Thursday, Lefevere reported that Evenepoel tested negative for COVID according to Nieuwsblad.

“For the first time he tested negative. We therefore think that he has been ill for a total of five days,” said Lefevere.

Despite testing negative, the TDF is still a no-go. Evenepoel’s reason for not riding the TDF is not just about COVID.

“If he does not shine there [at the Tour], many will shoot him with bazookas”, Lefevere said.

Remco will not race the Vuelta a España, either

In addition to skipping the TDF, Evenepoel, the reigning champion of Vuelta a España, will not defend his title in the 78th edition of the three-week race. According to Lefevere, Evenepoel has already ‘been there and done that’.

“Remco has already won the Vuelta a España. So no one would accept any other outcome from him. Moreover, it would again require quite heavy and very specific preparation,” Lefevere told Nieuwsblad.

So, when will Evenepoel race again?

“He will probably want and be able to ride the world championships in August, but it is still too early to judge the Vuelta,” Lefevere said according to Cycling Up To Date. Lefevere also shared with Nieuwsblad that Evenepoel may participate in shorter races like the Tour of Britain, Clasica San Sebastian, the Canadian classics - Grand Prix of Quebec and Montreal, and the Tour of Lombardy.

But even this race schedule may not be exact. “Tour of Britain not 100% confirmed yet, but among the most interesting options,” tweeted the Twitter account Domestique.

Whenever Remco Evenepoel lines up again, everyone will be watching with great anticipation. We definitely will be!

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