Opinion: Is Remco Evenepoel Good Enough To Win The Tour de France?

The Big Four look set to battle for the Tour de France crown in 2024 - but is Evenepoel good enough to challenge Vingegaard, Pogačar, and Roglič?

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reviewed by Rory McAllister

Few names have sparked as much intrigue and debate in cycling in recent years as Remco Evenepoel.

The young Belgian phenom has dazzled the cycling community with his meteoric rise, marked by jaw-dropping victories and a flair for dramatic, solo wins.

But as the 2024 cycling calendar inches closer to the grandest crown of them all – the Tour de France – the question on everyone’s lips is: Can Remco Evenepoel clinch cycling’s most coveted prize?

From the team dynamics to the unyielding competition, we explore what it will take for Evenepoel to win in Paris.

Vector art of Remco Evenepoel against a yellow and black background.
Credit: BikeTips Staff

Reasons To Think Evenepoel Can Win The Tour De France

Remco Evenepoel has more than a few tricks up his sleeve that could see him donning the coveted Yellow Jersey on the Champs-Elysées. Here are the top four reasons I believe he has what it takes.

He’s A Standout Climber

Let’s talk about Remco Evenepoel’s knack for conquering climbs. This guy has shown time and again that he’s not just good at ascending; he’s spectacular.

Take his breakout moment on August 3, 2019, for example. Evenepoel snagged his first World Tour win at the Clásica de San Sebastián in style.

He and Toms Skujins broke away from the main group with about 12 miles (20 km) to go. Then, on the final climb, Evenepoel left Skujins in the dust and soared to a solo victory.

He didn’t just win, he became the third-youngest rider ever to bag a Classic race. And he didn’t stop there – Evenepoel went on to clinch the title again in 2022 and 2023, making history with three wins.

His victory streak didn’t end in Spain.

With a World Championship title on a hilly course in Australia in 2022, back-to-back solo wins at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2022 and 2023, and a General Classification (GC) win at the Vuelta a España in 2022, Remco has left no doubt about his climbing prowess.

A Time-Trialing Powerhouse

Think being a climbing star means you can’t crush it in time trials? Remco Evenepoel begs to differ.

As the holder of Belgian, European, and World titles, he’s got a wardrobe bursting with champion jerseys.

With individual time trial (ITT) wins at the Vuelta a San Juan, Tour of Belgium, Tour of Denmark, Tour of Norway, Tour de Suisse, Volta ao Algarve, Vuelta a España, and Giro d’Italia, it’s clear: Evenepoel is a force to be reckoned with against the clock.

Already A Grand Tour Winner

Let’s not forget, Remco Evenepoel snagged a Grand Tour victory at the Vuelta a España back in 2022.

He didn’t just win; he dominated some of the top names in three-week races – think Primoz Roglic, Enric Mas, Richard Carapaz, Joao Almeida, and Rigoberto Uran.

And his performances? Stellar, especially on brutal climbs like the Sierra Nevada and the Alto del Piornal.

Nearly Unstoppable

By the age of 24, Evenepoel has racked up 51 professional victories. That’s impressive, especially considering he had to bounce back from a nasty crash at Il Lombardia in 2020 that sidelined him for six months.

When Evenepoel zeroes in on a goal, he’s exceptional. He might not race as frequently as some of the other big names, but when he shows up, he’s there to win. Period.

Remco Evenepoel celebrates a stage win at the 2023 Vuelta a Espana.
© Rafa Gomez/Sprint Cycling Agency

Reasons To Think Evenepoel Cannot Win The Tour De France

While Remco Evenepoel’s potential to win the Tour de France is undeniable, there are also significant obstacles that could prevent him from reaching the top step in Paris. Here are four key challenges Evenepoel might have to overcome.

Recent Grand Tours Haven’t Gone His Way

Remco Evenepoel’s performances in the last two Grand Tours – the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España in 2023 – didn’t quite go as planned.

But, calling them total flops? That’s not fair.

The Giro was his main target for the year. He smashed the opening day’s time trial to Ortona, snagging the stage win and the leader’s pink jersey, which put him way ahead of his rivals right off the bat.

Sure, he lost the lead to Andreas Leknessund in the first week, but he clawed it back with a victory in the Stage 9 time trial. Then, a positive COVID-19 test that very night forced him to bow out.

While COVID-19 was the official reason for his withdrawal, the rumor mill suggested Evenepoel felt his form slipping and chose to exit stage left rather than fade away.

Post-Giro, Evenepoel shifted gears. He nailed victories at the Clásica San Sebastián and the Individual Time Trial World Championships.

Yet, the Vuelta didn’t go as hoped.

Despite grabbing three stage wins and the Mountains Classification jersey, a brutal day en route to the Tourmalet saw him drop over 27 minutes, dashing his General Classification dreams.

Concerningly, there is a growing perception that while Evenepoel thrives on short and medium climbs, he may come unstuck on the behemoth Hors Catégorie climbs of the Alps – which feature even more prominently than usual in the 2024 Tour de France route.

Remco Evenepoel alongside his Soudal QuickStep teammates.
© Luis Angel Gomez/Sprint Cycling Agency

His Team Might Not Be The Strongest

Soudal-QuickStep is without a doubt one of the most celebrated teams in cycling history.

Since kicking off in 2003, they’ve notched up over 950 UCI victories, including 22 Monuments and 7 World Road Race Championships, among others.

But here’s a thought – despite this impressive haul, might it not be enough?

A big chunk of these wins are in the cobbled Classics, which speaks volumes about the team’s Belgian roots and its essence.

However, when we pivot to Grand Tours, Soudal QuickStep isn’t exactly the gold standard. 

That title often goes to teams like Ineos Grenadiers, Visma-Lease a Bike, or UAE Team Emirates, who’ve pretty much owned the Tour de France, clinching 9 of the last 10 editions. 

Visma, in particular, pulled off the incredible feat of winning all three Grand Tours with three different riders in 2023.

So, even though Evenepoel’s squad has its strengths, it begs the question: can they truly stack up against these Grand Tour juggernauts?

Tour De France Inexperience

Evenepoel hasn’t yet taken on the Tour de France. In fact, his racing footprint in France is pretty light.

To bridge this gap, his 2024 calendar is peppered with French races like Paris-Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné, aiming to get him up to speed.

This lack of Tour de France experience could be a significant hurdle. In the high-stakes, detail-oriented world of a three-week race, every bit of knowledge counts.

Up Against Cycling’s Best

Pogačar and Vingegaard climb at the 2023 Tour de France.
Pogačar and Vingegaard are formidable obstacles to a Tour de France crown.
© A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Evenepoel is without a doubt an exceptional talent, yet he’s up against some seriously formidable rivals.

The reigning Tour de France champ, Jonas Vingegaard, and the double Tour de France victor, Tadej Pogačar, have been nothing short of sensational over the last few years.

Their performances are so stellar that they make everyone else – Evenepoel included – look a bit less shiny in the Grand Tour spotlight.

Pogačar has proven himself across a range of challenges, clinching wins at the Tour of Flanders, La Flèche Wallonne, the Tour de France, and Il Lombardia. The guy’s versatility is just mind-blowing.

Vingegaard, meanwhile, absolutely dominated the last Tour de France, coming across as invincible.

It’s worth noting he might’ve had a shot at taking the Vuelta a España too but decided to play wingman, helping his teammate Sepp Kuss clinch the win, while Evenepoel trailed by a whopping 27 minutes in the General Classification.

Who Said It Had To Be The 2024 Tour De France?

When you look at the incredible performances of Pogačar and Vingegaard, it’s tough to see how Remco Evenepoel could outdo them anytime soon.

But, let’s not forget the advantage of youth.

At just 24, Evenepoel’s got time on his side, meaning he’s in a prime position to keep getting better and better, year after year, until he hits the typical peak performance age for pro cyclists, around 29 or 30.

That being said, at 25 and 27 respectively, Pogačar and Vingegaard are hardly about to be put out to pasture any time soon.

Even so, when we talk about whether Remco Evenepoel can win the Tour de France, it’s a question that might get a different answer as time goes on.

Right now, we might not be able to say for sure that he’s ready to grab that victory, but there’s plenty of signs pointing to his potential to get there down the road.

The big question is, will Evenepoel continue to grow and improve in the next few years?

If he does, he’ll definitely inch closer to that Tour de France win.

If not, his shot at victory might hinge on circumstances falling into place – like a route that plays more to his strengths with fewer mountains and more time trials, or injuries or loss of form for his key rivals.

At present, it seems that on a level playing field, beating Pogačar and Vingegaard when they’re in decent form would a task too far for Evenepoel.

Do you think Remco Evenepoel Can Win The Tour De France?

Evenepoel’s career to date is the stuff of cycling dreams, marked by flashes of brilliance and undeniable talent. Yet, the Tour de France, with its unique challenges and fierce competition, is the true test of a cyclist’s grit.

Now, we’re handing the mic to you, our readers. Do you think Remco Evenepoel has what it takes to win the Tour de France?

If you’re holding back due to doubts, what are they? Or maybe you’re fully on board, believing he’s not only capable of winning but could even take the crown this year.

We’re eager to hear your thoughts, predictions, and reasoning!

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Quentin's background in bike racing runs deep. In his youth, he won the prestigious junior Roc d'Azur MTB race before representing Belgium at the U17 European Championships in Graz, Austria. Shifting to road racing, he then competed in some of the biggest races on the junior calendar, including Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, before stepping up to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Paris-Roubaix as an U23. With a breakthrough into the cut-throat environment of professional racing just out of reach, Quentin decided to shift his focus to embrace bike racing as a passion rather than a career. Now writing for BikeTips, Quentin's experience provides invaluable insight into performance cycling - though he's always ready to embrace the fun side of the sport he loves too and share his passion with others.

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