Our rider passed another important test at the Spanish Grand Tour.
Remco Evenepoel made it twelve consecutive days at the top of the general classification after successfully defending La Roja on the climb to Monasterio de Tentudia. On paper, the ascent looked to be an easy one, having an average gradient of just 5%, but that told only half of the story, as it included two short downhill sections before the final four kilometers, which featured some steep ramps of 7% that promised to make it difficult for the riders.
Evenepoel was indeed tested in the final two kilometers, when Enric Mas (Movistar) put in a dig at the front, but he responded promptly, sending a clear message to all his opponents. Shortly after, Remco took command of the small but select group of favourites, controlling things and even accelerating out of the saddle with the finish line in sight, gaining a few seconds on some of the other general classification contenders.
With only four stages to go, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s 22-year-old remains firmly in control of the standings, where two minutes separate him from the rider in second, but the Belgian stressed out that the fight for victory is far from being over, with three days in the mountains still on the menu.
“I expected Mas to attack, I knew he would want to see how I reacted, but I felt good, despite not being the easiest of finishes, with some steep gradients in the final part, all this after another fast and nervous stage. The team was very good again today, they set the tempo and protected me until the climb, where Dries brought me in a good position, and all I had to do there was follow the moves. I’m satisfied with how things went, but we have a couple of more difficult days left here and we must keep the same focus”, said Remco, who continues to lead also the youth classification.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images