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I didn't think they could. I thought to be a stagiaire you had to be either U23 or Elite riding for a Conti team and never ridden for a Pro Conti or WT team.
You don't have to be on a Conti team; you can come from a national-level (vulgo amateur) team. You just mustn't have raced for a pro team before (on a full-year basis; previous stagiaire stints are OK).

Hard to say whether a junior is allowed at 18 to do a stage or whether joining #axeon early on paper would enable him to step up to #quickstep because, as you say, Axeon is PCT now. I don't know these rules. Perhaps he hadn't thought it through when asked or he just doesn't know himself. But he is meeting Lefevere this week so he will know then. :D
I think that if he joins #axeon for 2019 that would indeed preclude any stagiaire stays with #quickstep in 2019 or later as he would already be a pro. A future contract for 2019 wouldn't stop him from a 2018 stagiaire contract ... but his junior status probably would.

Here's the relevant paragraph from the rulebook:
2.15.110 bis
In addition, in the period between 1 August* and 31 December, each UCI WorldTeam may admit into the team three elite or under 23 trainees on the following conditions:
1. In the case of an elite rider, he shall not previously have belonged to any UCI WorldTeam or professional continental team;
2. The UCI WorldTeam must notify the UCI of these riders’ identity before 1 August;
3. The UCI WorldTeam shall obtain the authorisation of the national federation of the rider’s nationality and if applicable, the authorisation of the national federation of the continental team in which he is registered;
4. During that period, these riders may join only a single UCI WorldTeam;
5. These riders may only participate in races of the UCI continental circuits.
6. The riders in question may continue to take part in events in their club team or, if appropriate, in their UCI continental team.

* Upon justification of the participation in a stage race starting in July and ending in August, the registration of these riders may occur in July no earlier than the day before the first race day of the aforesaid race.

In all other respects, the relationship between these riders and the UCI WorldTeam shall be mutually agreed between the parties.
Condition 1 is interesting - I understand it to mean that U23 riders can go stagiaire at another team even though they're already on a pro contract.
So what I said above (#axeon contract for 2019 precludes #quickstep stagiaire stint in 2019 & later) is incorrect.

However, the rule pretty clearly states "elite or U23".

For the UCI, a rider's age for a year is defined as the age he has on 31 December of that year:
For participation in events on the international calendar, riders' categories are determined by the age of those competing as defined by the difference between the year of the event and the year of birth of the rider.

Juniors (MJ: Men Juniors)
This category shall comprise riders aged 17 and 18.

Under 23 (MU: Men Under 23)
This category shall comprise riders aged 19 to 22.
So Evenepoel is a junior in 2017 & 2018, and becomes an U23 rider on 1 January 2019.
There is a provision that allows second-year women juniors to participate in women elite races (outside the WWT, and racing for a national team, club team, or regional selection) - but the same provision does not exist for men juniors. And even if it did: #quickstep is a WT team. The teams who can enter WJ riders must not be registered with the UCI.

To sum up: I don't see any provision under which Evenepoel would be able to race as stagiaire with an elite team before 2019.
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  • Cyclingnews Women's WorldTour Correspondent
    2017 0711|CYCLING PR Manager; 2016 Stölting Content Editor
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