TOUR OF SPAIN – “I had no legs”, Evenepoel victim of his first failure

TOUR OF SPAIN – “I had no legs”, Evenepoel victim of his first failure

TOUR OF SPAIN – “I had no legs”, Evenepoel victim of his first failure

It is therefore very human. Some may doubt why his domination has so far been brilliant, but Remco Evenepoel can suffer failures too. This was the case on Saturday in the highest percentages of the last ascent of the Sierra de la Pandera (8.4 km at 7.8%), during the 14th stage of the Tour of Spain. Red jersey on the back, the 22-year-old Belgian prodigy released his first seconds for his second Grand Tour.

Despite having always imposed his domination in the most severe passages, such as the glittering ascent of Las Praeres a few days ago, Remco Evenepoel was unable, this time, to respond to the attack of his main rival in the general classification, Primoz Roglic. However, it was not obvious, at first glance, to know if the Belgian was in the leadership against the Slovenian offensive or if his body simply could not follow him this Saturday.

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Teammate Ilan Van Wilder admitted it himself: “Remco should have been there, but I saw that he hesitated a bit, I thought he wanted to pick up his pace.” His pace, the red jersey brought him later, when it was necessary to limit the damage and lose as little time as possible. But at the beginning the Belgian simply wasn’t there.

It’s not even chaos

“It was definitely not my best day, I didn’t have legs, I couldn’t accelerate when Roglic attacked”, granted the leader of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. In addition to the Slovenian, it was also Enric Mas, Joao Almeida and Miguel Angel Lopez who left the Belgian behind. A drop that will weigh on the general classification, given that Evenepoel has only “more than” 1’49 “ahead of second placed Roglic and 2’43” over Mas.

Times that, however, are to be put into perspective. Yes, Remco Evenepoel is not invincible, yes Sunday could be even worse, but Patrick Lefevere’s team is not the type to be overwhelmed by their emotions. “It’s not even chaos. Let’s not panic, it wasted some time but it’s not catastrophic”, summarizes Ilan Van Wilder. An opinion shared by its leader: “I think I have already made up time with complicated goals, like in Las Praeres. I think I have handled the waste of time well. I still have a lead of 1’50 “on the general classification so there is nothing to worry about and we just need to recover as soon as possible before tomorrow.”

The suspense comes alive: an attack from Roglic and Evenepoel is broken

My legs were just a little heavy

How to explain this failure of the strongman of this Vuelta? Several factors can come into play, including the recent fall he suffered: “It’s the second day after the fall, so it’s still the day you feel the most muscles, but I won’t take that as an excuse.” Remco Evenepoel explained to Eurosport’s microphone.

The second reason – the breaking of the legs. “I just had a bit heavy legs in the last 5 kilometers. Jumbo had already established a very strong pace on the penultimate climb.” But we will also have to deal with Sunday, on even longer and more demanding tracks than those of the Sierra de la Pandera.

For the queen stage of this Tour of Spain, the group will have to tackle the Sierra Nevada pass at over 2500m of altitude. Heights that Remco Evenepoel has never experienced in the race. “It will be another day and a new opportunity for us to keep the shirt, but it is also a completely different goal like today”, He continued. Before concluding, smile : “A new day and hopefully new legs too”.

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