Evenepoel flies to queen stage victory
He came, he saw, he conquered. Remco Evenepoel celebrated for the second time in three days at the Scandinavian race, after dropping all his rivals on the tough Gaustatoppen climb (12km, 8.2%), five kilometers from the finish, and soloing to a crushing victory that earned him back the leader’s orange jersey.
Lying third in the overall classification at the start of the stage, just one second from first place, Remco knew that Thursday’s finish would be the place where he could try and make the difference, but the action kicked out much earlier than expected. With 70 kilometers remaining, crosswinds split the bunch just as they did on the previous stage, leaving only 20-30 men in the front, including the young Belgian, who had Flanders winner and teammate Kasper Asgreen to shelter and guide him to the bottom of the last climb.
“I am happy. It was quite a long day, with headwind in the beginning, then crosswinds which again played a major role, but luckily, I had Kasper with me there, and I want to thank him for his work. Then, on the climb, I didn’t know how far we were from the finish when I made my move, but I felt good and just kept going.”
“I was a bit surprised of how the legs reacted, so I continued to push hard to increase my advantage. It was a long effort, but at the end of the day I am delighted with this victory and the gaps in the GC. Now we’ll try to control the race and see if there will be any other opportunities for us until the end of the week”, explained Remco, who in addition to the overall standings, also leads the KOM and youth classifications.
Photo credit: ©Kjetil Birkedal Pedersen