VIDEO. Evenepoel takes bonus second from Vingegaard and Roglic, Paul Lapeira outpaces Louis Vervaeke in Tour of the Basque Country after chaotic sprint preparation

VIDEO. Evenepoel takes bonus second from Vingegaard and Roglic, Paul Lapeira outpaces Louis Vervaeke in Tour of the Basque Country after chaotic sprint preparation
VIDEO. Evenepoel takes bonus second from Vingegaard and Roglic, Paul Lapeira outpaces Louis Vervaeke in Tour of the Basque Country after chaotic sprint preparation
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After Monday’s time trial, it was normal for the sprinters in the Tour of the Basque Country on Tuesday. With only a third category climb at the start of the stage to Kanbo. Remco Evenepoel did not want to go all out in the 160 kilometer ride. “It could be a bit of anything,” said the Belgian champion. “I expect a sprint with a very large group. It may be a long start to the flight, but it will generally hold together and be a sprint. Am I going to keep calm today? Yes, indeed (laughs).”

It was not a long start for the flight, as Evenepoel predicted. The Spaniards Enekoitz Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Ivan Cobo (Equipo Kern Pharma), Xabier Mikel Azparren (Q36.5 Pro Cycling), the Dutchman Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH) and the French Alexis Vuillermoz (TotalEnergies) took after six kilometers along the hare path and were immediately given a safe conduct. Halfway through the ride, one of Cobo dropped out, but the foursome still fought for a lead of almost five minutes.

Twelve kilometers from the finish in Kanbo, the escapees’ story was over and the sprint preparations could begin. As so often happens, this caused a nervous situation in the rain, which also resulted in several casualties. Not the least: ex-Giro winner Tao Geoghegan Hart (Lidl-Trek), Esteban Chaves (EF Education-EasyPost), the Spanish rough diamond Igor Arrieta (UAE Emirates) and Romain Grégoire (Groupama-FDJ).

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Evenepoel was spared the misery and was well at the front for the disrupted sprint. In the intermediate sprint at six kilometers, the Belgian champion was in good shape to take a bonus second in third place after the UAE duo Isaac Del Toro and Juan Ayuso.

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But Groupama-FDJ in particular proved extremely strong. Despite the fall of their leader Grégoire, the French formation entered the final stretch undisturbed. Bruno Armirail rolled out the red carpet for his country and teammate Lapeira, who then held off Battistella and Vervaeke. With Quinten Hermans (Alpecin-Deceuninck), another Belgian finished in the top ten.

It is already the third victory this season for the young Frenchman Lapeira. He previously won the French one-day races Cholet Agglo Tour and Classic Loire Atlantique.

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Sports director Lodewyck about bonus second Evenepoel: “It was only a small effort”

Soudal Quick-Step sports director Klaas Lodewyck briefly discussed Evenepoel’s bonisecond. “It was just a small effort. She most likely won’t make the bill, but the bonis were just there. Moreover, every classification rider was ready there, so that is always a bonus.”

In the final phase there was still a lot of falling. “It was tricky for everyone. Fortunately, no one from the team fell, but you always need luck. You can’t control something like that, but I’m glad everyone is safely on the bus.”

Louis Vervaeke: “It was just well placed”

Louis Vervaeke surprised himself somewhat with his podium finish. “I was actually well placed, because I had to keep Remco Evenepoel and Mikel Landa safe in the last kilometer and there are simply few sprinters here in general. In the end I was on the wheel of the rider from Decathlon AG2R (Lapeira; ed.), but I didn’t have the legs to take the victory from him. It was a pure sprint for the podium.”

Quinten Hermans: “There was exactly oil on the road”

Quinten Hermans was disappointed after his tenth place, but also happy that he had crossed the finish line unscathed. “It was very dangerous and slippery. At one point there were suddenly a lot of crashes and it seemed like there was oil on the road. The sprint itself was very hectic. Unfortunately, I closed myself in and everyone passed me on all sides. I may have sprinted to tenth place, but I had hoped to get closer to victory. The legs are certainly fine. If I can keep this feeling going, I should definitely try something else in the next few days.”

Result stage 2

© Screenshot Eurosport

Ranking after stage 2

© Screenshot Eurosport

The article is in Dutch

Tags: VIDEO Evenepoel takes bonus Vingegaard Roglic Paul Lapeira outpaces Louis Vervaeke Tour Basque Country chaotic sprint preparation

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