Britain’s James Knox is set to help Remco Evenepoel battle for Grand Tour victory for years to come, as QuickStep turns to a broader race strategy to help them support the young Belgian’s ambitions.
The Flanders-based WorldTour team has traditionally focused on the Classics, with overall victory in the Grand Tours in general and the Tour de France in particular considered out of reach.
However, Evenepoel’s talent and success have changed all that and he is expected to target the Giro d’Italia in 2023 before turning his attention to the Tour de France.
“It is a great achievement for Remco, for the team and for Belgium. He is only 22 years old, but he lived up to expectations. So you have to say ‘chapeau’ for that. He is delivering with his legs,” Knox said. cyclingnews Y velonoticias Recently.
“I think everyone in the team knows what he is capable of in terms of training and what he has done in one day races. But to do it on a Grand Tour, it’s not a surprise, but there is a bit of surprise and amazement in the way Remco won the Vuelta.”
Knox has shown that he is a talented climber and looks like the ideal support for Evenepoel in the key mountain stages of the Grand Tours and especially in the 2023 Giro d’Italia. Italian Fausto Masnada is also likely to be part of a QuickStep team for the Corsa Rosa next May.
Knox joined QuickStep in 2018 and soon proved to be one of the best climbers on the team. He finished 11th overall in the 2019 Vuelta a España and was then 14th in the 2020 Giro d’Italia. He has already ridden with Evenepoel and is ready for that vital role in 2023.
“I have done races with him in the last two years, where I have supported him. I know that role quite well and there will be opportunities in the future to be there for him in the Grand Tours to support him,” Knox explained.
“Luckily we already had some strong guys, like Dries Devenyns and Pieter Serry, who can already do that job fantastically well. The team has added some support with Masnada, Louis Vervaeke and Ilan Van Wilder.”
“We have some guys climbing now, and it will be a bigger attraction for guys to join the team, especially with Remco delivering now. Some guys will want to jump on the gravy train, so to speak. With Remco competing for more and more Grand Tours over the next five years, I imagine Patrick Lefevere will try to strengthen the team in that regard.”
With Ineos Grenadiers eager to tempt Evenepoel away from QuickStep, Lefevere knows he will have to bolster his squad even further. He said cyclingnews That Evenepoel’s contract with the team is confirmed and is firm until 2026, but the pressure from rival teams to try to lure Evenepoel means he can’t mess around when it comes to building a Grand Tour team.
Knox, 27, has a contract for 2023 when the team will become Soudal-QuickStep thanks to increased sponsorship. The Cumbrian climber had a test season in 2022 but hopes to be back at his best next season.
“I had a little problem at the beginning of the year and it never went well enough for me. I was in the Giro, but I just didn’t have the legs. I felt better in the second half of the season,” Knox said.
“More experienced guys will tell you that sometimes it’s your year, sometimes it’s not. With the level getting higher and higher, there isn’t much room for error. That seems to be the crux of the matter.”
“Big stars like Remco can deliver when they’re not 100 percent, but a guy like me, you really have to be 100 percent to be on top of the races. I hope to do it in 2023”.