It’s all in Evenepoel: Soudal-Quick Step leaves Tim Merlier home from the Vuelta | Vuelta

Fabio Jacobsen to the Tour, and Tim Merlier to the Vuelta. Soudal-Quick Step had developed this plan for its two speed bombs. But now that Remco Evenepoel will defend his title at the Tour of Spain, the cards have been shuffled.

Patrick Lefebvre’s Spain side have firmly chosen a side based around Remco Evenepoel. So Merlier falls from the boat. Patrick Lefebvre offered explanations for this choice on Wednesday.

“Remco said very clearly that he had no problem with Tim there. But this week, during the rest day of the Tour, we sat together at San Pellegrino, where the team was on an altitude training session.”

“Tim said he would have no problem taking part in another programme, including the Benelux Tour – where there may be more sprint races than in Spain – and some one-day races.”

However, Lefebvre says it was possible to reconcile the two agendas in Spain. “On a big lap, the leader is always led forward up to three kilometers from the finish. In this way, Tim could also be brought forward and Bert van Lerburgh could have been led.”

“But in the end, after consulting with Tim himself, we decided not to do that and give him a different programme. Could this provide a tactical advantage? If everyone is good, this should be an advantage, yes.”

Did Merlier leave disappointed or was it a willing choice? “Tim wanted to ride the Vuelta, but he’s a good boy and said he would accept the team’s decision. A win is a win: whether it’s a stage in the Vuelta or a stage in the Benelux Tour.”

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