Evenepoel surprises –

Remco Evenepoel is the rival to beat today in this Vuelta. This is how his great rivals consider him, although that role is changing, because a good part of the peloton also considered Primoz Roglic as the main man to follow in the race. “If he continues like this, he is unstoppable. His level is very high. Only Pogacar would say that he could surpass him at the moment”, says the Portuguese Joao Almeida, seventh overall, and who also takes the opportunity to praise his teammate from the UAE. “He is very strong, a few steps ahead. He showed great superiority in the first week.” admits Carlos Rodriguez. To tell the truth, the only loophole that the rest of the runners see to be able to overcome the Belgian is none other than the passage of time.

At 22, Remco Evenepoel has never completed a grand lap. He only started one, the 2021 Giro, and did not finish it. In that appointment he also started at a good level, although not as much as now. In Italy, after nine stages (those passed by La Vuelta so far), he was in second place overall, just 15 seconds behind Egan Bernal, ultimately the winner. After that great first third of the race, the Belgian was less until his abandonment. “I can’t compare myself to the cyclist I am now”he admits about that race. For this reason, some of those present in the race consider that La Vuelta can be longbut it is true that the Quick Step has been preparing this objective conscientiously since the beginning of the year.

Concentrations in height, selected calendar to reach La Vuelta in peak form, a physical form in which he shows himself finer than usual… took care of even the smallest detail for its preparation. “I have been working as hard as possible during the season to be the best I can be at this moment. I made many sacrifices and this shows that if you believe in yourself and never give up, at some point it will be worth it”, recognized the Belgian yesterday on the rest day in Alicante. Leads Enric Mas by 1:12 and at 1:53 to Primoz Roglic, his two immediate pursuers. “We knew that the stages in Asturias would be important to gain time and as a team we did it perfectly. We can be happy with what has been achieved so far”, acknowledges the leader, who never ceases to extol his companions. “Quick Step is said to be a classic team, but now we show that we can also fight in the mountains, which shows our versatility,” he explains.

measured euphoria

Despite this, he prefers to reduce the euphoria and set small goals instead of looking to the top of the podium in Madrid: “I came focused on achieving a stage victory and finishing in a good position in the general classification. The challenge remains the same. It is an honor to wear the leader’s jersey for a grand tour, and it feels great, but we are cautious”, acknowledges the former Andelecht soccer player. In addition to the passage of time and the stages, Remco’s rivals know that there is one thing that is not to his liking: the heat. Y this weekcrossing Levante and especially the south of the peninsula, temperatures will be high. The media, especially Belgian media, show their enthusiasm for Remco: “Honestly, I don’t look at the newspapers or the websites.” And, about the third week, he doesn’t want to talk. Twelve stages remain.

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