QuickStep-AlphaVinyl directeur sportif Klaas Lodewyck has steered that Remco Evenepoel has the identical starvation and ‘killer mentality’ as Lance Armstrong, with the younger Belgian and new world champion’s drive and ambition matching his bodily means.
In an extended function about Evenepoel within the Dutch journal Journey printed by Wielerflits, Lodewyck acknowledged his comparability could also be flawed in some methods however steered that Evenepoel and Armstrong have the identical character.
Like Evenepoel, Armstrong turned World Champion at simply 22. He went on to win the Tour de France seven instances however was then banned for all times and misplaced his Tour victories in 2012 after a USADA investigation uncovered his intensive use of doping. The disgraced Texan lastly admitted to utilizing banned medicine in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.
Evenepoel gained the Vuelta a España and the World Championships title in Australia after additionally taking Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He’s typically in comparison with Eddy Merckx however Lodewyck highlights the similarities with Armstrong.
Lodewyck grew up in the course of the Armstrong years and was knowledgeable between 2009 and 2015, largely with BMC. He rode 4 Grand Excursions and the Classics till a coronary heart downside pressured him to retire at 30. He joined QuickStep as a directeur sportif in 2018 and his younger age has helped him higher perceive Evenepoel.
“It could be a incorrect comparability, however when it comes to character I do see similarities between Remco and Lance,” Lodewyck stated within the Journey function, seen in full by Cyclingnews.
“Apart from all the pieces that went incorrect with Armstrong prior to now, Lance was additionally somebody who might by no means win sufficient. When he (Armstrong) began someplace, he wished to be one of the best. Remco at all times needs to win too.”
“On the final Sunday morning of the Vuelta a España in Madrid, he already began speaking to us concerning the World Championships in Wollongong. It is by no means sufficient. That additionally reveals that he’s at all times pushed to be one of the best and to win races.”
Lodewyck steered that Evenepoel makes use of exterior criticism to boost his recreation. Doubts arose about whether or not Evenepoel might maintain his meteoric rise within the sport after his 2020 crash at Il Lombardia, during which he suffered a posh hip fracture. He and QuickStep rushed his return to racing however he lacked the shape to be aggressive on the 2021 Giro d’Italia. He additionally had a public spat with Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) after the 2 fell out about management of the Belgian World Championship staff.
Evenepoel appeared to have learnt from his errors and matured considerably throughout 2022, his win at Liège-Bastogne-Liège silencing his critics and liberating him from any doubts about his means to return to his true type.
“Lance was a killer. In the event you kicked his shins, he kicked again ten instances more durable. Normally he did this on a bicycle and typically additionally verbally. Remco additionally has that killer mentality,” Lodewyck steered to Journey.
“He additionally typically solutions with efficiency on the bike. Though he’s much more diplomatic in his feedback.”
“Kick first, then speak.”
The Journey function contains feedback from QuickStep-AlphaVinyl staff supervisor Patrick Lefevere and coach Koen Pelgrim in addition to Lodewyck.
All of them consider that Evenepoel, like many younger riders rising within the peloton, has nonetheless to achieve his peak as a result of his age and relative lack of racing expertise, however is studying quick and utilizing each troublesome second and each criticism to enhance and mature.
“That boy has been subjected to a lot. I’ve essentially the most enjoyable once I can show folks incorrect,” Lefevere stated.
“In Madrid on the celebration of the Vuelta victory, I used to be quietly laughing in my intestine, as we are saying in Flanders. Folks had been saying: ‘Have a look at all of them right here. Remco cannot do it. He cannot climb steep climbs. He will get into hassle above 2000 metres. He can’t descend. I’ve typically stated it to my riders: Reply with the pedals. Kick first, then speak.”
That’s what Evenepoel did on the Vuelta after which he travelled on to the World Championships. He was third within the time trial after which gained the street race title from a breakaway and a 35km solo assault.
“Successful is of their DNA and so they already put a number of strain on themselves. Remco had already gained nice races prior to now, however there was at all times somebody who felt it essential to analyse him intently,” Lodewyck steered.
“Though he was capable of deal with the criticism effectively, it turns into a heavy load after some time. I believe it was vital that he stood out in an enormous Traditional like Liège and took the win in spectacular trend. That was a victory with which he actually silenced everybody.”
“He rode impressively in his first yr with the professionals in 2019 however there have been nonetheless so many issues we might work on and refine. He might enhance a lot when it comes to positioning and explosiveness. He had but to grow to be a bike owner, additionally as a result of he had solely been on a bicycle for less than two years.
“Somebody like that may nonetheless make huge progress. That’s why I used to be at all times satisfied that he was able to particular achievements sooner or later. I believe now we have seen [he is] a really full rider within the final weeks of this season, who has additionally taken large steps ahead.”