Soudal Quick-Step’s leader is confident and optimistic in his chances of getting a good result.

Paris-Nice starts on Sunday, and for Remco Evenepoel it will be the first time in his career he’ll take part in a French stage race. Ahead of the opening day, the Belgian Champion talked about his strong start to the season in Portugal and what he would consider a successful week here next Sunday.

“I want to win a stage and be up there in the general classification. I look forward to racing in France for the first time. Ok, I’ve done the Chrono des Nations twice, but this will be a completely different experience. Paris-Nice is a great race to get used to France, to the public, to the weather and to how it’s raced here, and I can’t wait. I expect a nervous race, a race where even the weather could play a part, so we’ll just have to take it one step at a time.

The parcours is nice and demanding, and on paper it should suit a lot of riders, so it’s difficult to say how things will go. I am curious about the team time trial, which has a difficult first part and some testing hills, to which you can add the rule that says the time of the first rider to cross the line will count, and this will only make everything more interesting. Concerning the weekend and the climbs around Nice, I don’t know what to expect. I expect a hard weekend, but that’s all that I can say, because I don’t know those ascents and it’s something I can’t wait to discover.

I am confident, because I had an excellent start in Portugal, I feel good and I have a strong squad around me, comprising guys who can be with me on the climbs, but also teammates who can guide me on the flat, helping me save energy.

As I said, a good GC would be nice, so finishing second or even third would still count as a success and give me a big morale-boost. There will be a couple of answers after the race, but at the same time it will be too early to draw any important conclusions. These should come only after the Critérium du Dauphiné. But it’s only March now, so all my focus is on Paris-Nice, where together with the Soudal Quick-Step boys I hope to do a good race.”


Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images

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