Evenepoel puts in flying ride on Itzulia opener

Evenepoel puts in flying ride on Itzulia opener

Remco Evenepoel came close to what would have been his fourth victory of the season on stage 1 of the Itzulia Basque Country – a 7.5km individual time trial held over a technical course featuring short but sharp climbs around charming Hondarribia, a stone’s throw from the French border.

The last Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider to leave the start ramp, Evenepoel produced a huge ride on what was the shortest Itzulia stage against the clock in the last two decades, leaving absolutely everything out there before stopping the clock in 9:53 – the first rider to break the sub 10-minute barrier. The result moved him into the hot seat, where up until that point teammate Rémi Cavagna had been, thanks to a splendid display that confirmed the Frenchman’s prowess in the time trial.

Only one rider could bump Remco from the top of the classification, and that was Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), who improved his time by five seconds. Despite not taking the victory and concluding again second in a World Tour ITT, just like in Tirreno-Adriatico last month, the 22-year-old Belgian found reasons to smile at the finish, as he made a visit to the podium twice, to be awarded the KOM and best young rider jerseys.

“I knew it was going to be a hard time trial, with some technical parts, but I did everything that I could and rode as fast as possible. I don’t have any regrets, because just one guy was better than me today. I am a bit disappointed, as I came here with a good condition and wanted to win, but I am confident other opportunities will come this week”, said Evenepoel after his sixth podium of the season.

 

Photo credit: ©Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images

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