The big boys award Remco Evenepoel the overall victory in the Vuelta: “He is already a great champion who can cycle terribly well”

What is the difference between winning a Tour and a Vuelta?

Chris Froome (37, 4x Tour, 1x Giro, 2x Vuelta)

“The Tour de France is a big step higher. The competition is simply much stronger. All the best riders in the world are at the start of the Tour at their top level. That is different in the Vuelta a España. But winning the Vuelta is a big hurdle to overcome. If Evenepoel realizes that, he will prove that he is good enough to write a three-week race to his name. Many riders can be good for a week or ten days, but maintaining that level for three weeks is a huge achievement. This is a first big test for Evenepoel. If he can do that, he can put a nice feather on his hat. Winning your first big round is the hardest. Afterwards you gain much more confidence in yourself and support from your team. Naturally, expectations about Evenepoel will be raised after this Vuelta. And his life will suddenly become a lot busier. Especially in a cycling-crazy country like Belgium.”

How difficult will it be for Evenepoel in the future to combine classics and grand tours?

Vincenzo Nibali (37, 1x Tour, 2x Giro, 1x Vuelta)

“I’ve won my Grand Tours in years when I didn’t win any Classics and vice versa. But that’s more or less a coincidence. For example, I won Milan-Sanremo in 2018 and I was very strong in the Tour de France, but had to give up halfway through after a crash by a fan. That combination is certainly possible. Evenepoel has already proved this year that he can do it. He is on the verge of conquering the Vuelta, having already won Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Clasica San Sebastian earlier this season.”

What advice does an experienced hand give to an emerging top talent like Evenepoel?

Alejandro Valverde (42, 1x Vuelta)

“Oh, nothing at all. He seems to be enjoying himself immensely. He is comfortable in his own skin. Let him carry on like this. He is already a great champion who can ride a bike very well. The only danger is that the media idolize him too much. I hope everything around him doesn’t get too big.”

Does winning a Grand Tour change your life?

Jai Hindley (26, 1x Giro)

“It depends from person to person. If you really want to play the big Jan, you can of course change your entire lifestyle. I have not done that. But in Australia, cycling is not as big as in Belgium, where it is the number one sport. I haven’t been to Australia in three years, so I’m not really sure what my Giro win there brought about. In any case: chapeau to Remco, he is a nice boy who drove very well.”

How do you deal with the stress on the morning of the all-decisive Grand Tour ride?

Tao Geoghegan Hart (27,1x Giro)

“I slept pretty well that night in 2020. You can feel that the end is in sight. It’s actually very simple on such a day: you are full of adrenaline and you just have to go as fast as possible. I think Remco still looks good. After a few more difficult days, momentum has again turned in its favor. Remco still has to complete his very first Grand Tour. It’s unbelievable that he might win it.” (md, jpdv)

© AP

The article is in Dutch

Tags: big boys award Remco Evenepoel victory Vuelta great champion cycle terribly

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