Remco Evenepoel surges to his fifth victory of the season
Remco Evenepoel returned to competition for the first time since becoming the youngest winner of Liège–Bastogne–Liège in the last 54 years, and did it with a bang, capturing the victory on the opening day of the Tour of Norway, and with it, the leader’s jersey – which a Belgian rider has never worn until today.
Starting from Bergen, the site of the 2017 World Championships, the route took the riders over a rolling 174km course to Voss, where a 2.1km climb averaging 8.4% awaited the peloton, who made sure of bringing back the escapees before hitting the short hill, thanks in part to a massive effort from teammates Ethan Vernon and Josef Cerny.
With 300 meters to go, Evenepoel accelerated out of the saddle – a perfectly timed move which saw him plug away and hold off a late counterattack of Tobias Johannessen (Uno-X) for his fifth win since the start of the year and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s 23rd, one which put the Wolfpack at the top of the team victory classification.
“It was a cold and hard day. We had some low temperatures, rain, and even some wind, but the guys controlled the race perfectly and played a big part in my success. I am happy to return to competition with a victory and delighted that I had the legs to kick out and make the difference when it mattered. It’s always great to start a race like this, especially when I think this is the first time that I won an uphill sprint. We know it won’t be easy, but we’ll try to defend the orange jersey in the coming days”, said Remco after his 27th pro win.