Cycling star Remco Evenepoel targets June return from crash

BRUSSELS -- Two weeks after crashing badly in Spain, two-time world champion Remco Evenepoel said on Friday he's on track to race again in June ahead of the Tour de France and Paris Olympics.

The Belgian needed surgery after breaking a collarbone and shoulder blade in a crash while descending in the Tour of Basque Country.

Evenepoel will train at high altitude before a planned return to racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné in France from June 2-9 or the week after at the Tour de Suisse, he said in an interview broadcast by his team Soudal-Quick-Step.

He won the worlds time trial last year and the road race in 2022, and should target both Olympic events on the streets of Paris on back-to-back Saturdays -- July 27 and Aug. 3. First, he will make his Tour de France debut on June 29.

"It's going to be something special. Especially the Tour," Evenepoel said. "It makes it a bit easier to do Tour-Olympics because it's in the same country, not too far like it was three years ago to go to Tokyo. That was more difficult for a lot of guys."

Evenepoel raced in both Olympic road events in Japan. He placed ninth in the time trial, more than one minute out of the medals and trailing 2 minutes, 17 seconds behind gold medalist Primož Roglič.

Roglič was caught up in Evenepoel's crash in Spain and also will miss the one-day classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday. Evenepoel won the past two editions of the storied race.

Evenepoel said the early spring injury gave him time to recover like it was a midseason break. It let him spend the Eid al-Fitr holiday last week with his wife Oumi Rayane and her family.

"That was a very beautiful day," he said. "It's better to have the injury now than in a couple of weeks. It's a bit of luck in my bad luck."