Evenepoel impresses with limited time loss to "outstanding tenors": "He even gained back time" Cycling

Evenepoel impresses with limited time loss to "outstanding tenors": "He even gained back time"

Evenepoel impresses with limited time loss to "outstanding tenors": "He even gained back time"

Jonas Vingegaard was the winner of the day in the eleventh stage of the Tour de France, but Remco Evenepoel, finishing in third place, also likely felt like a moral victor. The Belgian rider of Soudal-Quick Step seemed to be facing a tough day when he had to let Tadej Pogacar, Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic ride off without him early on. However, a sign of maturity kept him in the race.

Evenepoel had to drop back when Pogacar attacked, and Vingegaard and Roglic set off in pursuit. On the descent, the white jersey wearer caught up with the two men in pursuit before appearing able to keep up on the next climb. However, Vingegaard went too hard in the pursuit of Pogacar. Evenepoel chose his own pace, which turned out to be so high that he only lost half a minute at the finish line.

"Adam Yates had just done a very strong pull, and Tadej was very aggressive in his attack. I didn't even ask myself if I should try to follow them. I chose my own pace. Up, down, and up again, because on the next climb Jonas went very fast. I caught up to Primoz, who exploded," Evenepoel analyzed.

"We were nervous when he had to drop back, but we quickly saw that everyone was at their limit," team leader Tom Steels told Sporza after the stage. Evenepoel chose to ride at his own pace, which we often see him do. "It was a fight to the finish, and he did great. He kept himself under control really well and kept going within his limits, maybe even a bit beyond."

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Soudal-Quick Step saw Evenepoel as "one of the strongest"

The Wolfpack is at peace with the fact that Pogacar and Vingegaard are in a league of their own. The team came to the Tour aiming for a podium finish or top five, and that goal is still well within reach. "In the finale, I think Remco was one of the strongest. So much so that he was able to gain back fifteen seconds at the end," said Steels.

Trainer Koen Pelgrim agrees. "Remco has always been able to maintain his own pace. At the end, he even managed to gain some time back. I think this reflects the pecking order in the Tour. On the Galibier, those two were already the best. They are in a different league. It was the same last year. He could have tried to go with Pogacar, but then you hit a wall and maybe lose more time."

Evenepoel himself also had a positive feeling after the stage. "It was just a good stage. Maybe I didn't feel my absolute best, otherwise I could have tried to react, but it was very positive. I'm still in second place, and the guys behind me have lost more time. It's a good end to the day. I have to be positive and content with that. I try to stay as close as possible to those two outstanding tenors. I lost 25 seconds, and that's already less than in Valloire after the Galibier, right?"

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