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Some early clues about two of the sport’s biggest stars emerged this week.
Pogačar posted his first Tour de France training update since he broke his wrist at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, while Soudal Quick-Step chief Patrick Lefevere beat back speculation that Evenepoel could make a premature debut in the French tour this summer.
“Finally an update on my everyday life. Been a good last two weeks, exploring Monaco and surroundings, putting some hard work on the rollers and taking care of my wrist,” Pogačar wrote on his Instagram feed.
A carousel of images and videos show the two-time Tour champion riding on the rollers, running up stairs, and working through strength and conditioning moves. Like a whippety Rocky Balboa with a strapped-up wrist, if you will.
The update Thursday was the first glimpse into the 24-year-old’s rehab program since he fractured his wrist in Liège-Bastogne-Liège last month.
“[It’s] Not boring life at all, the best part is I can watch [partner and Jayco-AlUla racer] Urška Žigart and cheer for her in Spain. I will update you all once I get back on the bike outside,” Pogačar wrote. “But for now hard work continues in my kitchen and garden.”
The timing of Pogačar’s injury may have put only a relatively small dent into his Tour de France roadmap.
Pogačar received successful surgery just hours after his racing crash and medics indicated a six-week roadmap toward full recovery.
Team brass indicated Pogačar was soon back riding on rollers, but that he would miss some aerodynamics tests and recon rides scheduled for earlier this month.
The next steps for Pogačar should be a time-squeezed altitude camp before a form-tester at the Tour of Slovenia.
How many percent might Pogačar be missing after his training setback? We’ll find out when the Tour blasts out of the Basque Country on July 1.
Lefevere on Evenepoel: ‘The plan remains to debut in the Tour in 2024’
One rider Pogačar won’t need to worry about this summer is reigning world champion Evenepoel.
Lefevere silenced speculation his team captain could pivot toward a Tour de France debut after his push for the pink jersey was derailed this weekend by the wave of COVID that swept through the Giro d’Italia.
“No, Remco will not ride the Tour this year. We’re not going to change his program, that wouldn’t be very smart,” Lefevere told RTBF earlier this week.
“The plan remains to debut in the Tour in 2024. Or maybe he will return to the Giro.”
The remainder of Evenepoel’s season is likely to center on the road worlds, which this year are scheduled just weeks ahead of the Vuelta a España.
Lefevere also confirmed Evenepoel would not defend his red jersey in Spain this summer and could instead focus on the late-season classics in Canada and Italy.
“Remco has already won the Tour of Spain, so no one would accept any other outcome from him. Moreover, it would again require quite heavy and very specific preparation,” Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad.