Remco Evenepoel has not yet confirmed his likely participation in the Tour de France next season, but the Belgian star dropped his biggest hint yet at a debut in the race after logging a 100km training ride on Strava.
Having taken part in several days of Soudal-QuickStep meetings and team-building activities in Belgium last week, Evenepoel is in Calpe in south-east Spain and back in training for the 2024 season.
On Monday he logged a hilly 100km training ride with 1,229 metres of elevation, titling the ride ‘Here we go! En route to La Grande Boucle’ with Italian and French flag emojis.
While Evenepoel has been tempted by the possibility of combining the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France next season, the combination of emojis could just as well be referring to the Tour alone, which kicks off in Tuscany on June 29.
Evenepoel looks certain to debut in France next summer, taking on an atypical Tour de France route which crosses the Alps early, features a mountain-packed final week, and concludes with a final day time trial in Nice thanks to the Paris Olympic Games.
He’s set to do battle against reigning champion Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), two-time winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Bora-Hansgrohe’s new man Primož Roglič in what could be one of the most thrilling battles for the yellow jersey in recent memory.
Soudal-QuickStep team boss has previously warned Evenepoel against taking on the Giro-Tour double and has also expressed doubts that his charge can match the level of the likes of Vingegaard and Pogačar just yet.
“He still has an account open with the Giro and he was considering combining the Tour and the Giro,” Lefevere told Sporza in October. “But with what comes next, with the Olympic Games, for example, the Giro-Tour combination does not seem to be the best idea to me.”
Earlier this month, the veteran team boss told La Dernière Heure that, “as a result, we still have doubts about the exact level he can reach in the Tour de France against guys like Vingegaard and Pogačar.
“We would have preferred if he could have enjoyed the  Giro for three weeks before discovering the Tour de France. But because of all those setbacks this year, he immediately has to discover himself in the Tour.”