Remco Evenepoel started stage 11 of the Tour de France in second place in the general classification, 33 seconds behind the yellow jersey of Tadej Pogacar. The Soudal – Quick-Step rider continues to think long-term in this Tour, but he is all too aware of how dangerous today’s hilly stage can be for riders like him.

“It’s always dangerous, but it’s not the most dangerous stage. We have to be careful not to lose time. We have to pay attention and have the legs. It’s still very early in the race,” Evenepoel told Het Nieuwsblad. “The Pyrenees are coming the day after tomorrow. It’s a bit of an in-between stage. We have to be awake for attacks, but we’re not doing much ourselves.” This probably points to the idea of ​​a conservative strategy for today’s stage, which has a fast start but a tough finale with some short but explosive climbs. Evenepoel could be tested by Tadej Pogacar, although he could try to make the difference himself on such a race day.

Evenepoel remains in a position that is above expectations, currently ahead of Jonas Vingegaard and legitimately in the fight for the Tour victory. Yet he remains relaxed and in control of the situation, on his Tour debut. “Everything is going well. We are dealing well with the stress, the nerves and the attention. We have to keep going like this and stay focused until the end.”

Stage 11 is a day where most believe a breakaway will succeed and Evenepoel shares that belief. “I think we’re going to have a really nice battle for the breakaway of the day, because the course is constantly going up and down. Our expectation is that it will be a race on two fronts: one for the breakaway and one for the GC.”

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