It seemed like a tactical master plan. Louis Vervaeke, together with Fausto Masnada, took part in the big flight of the day and in this way was able to do a great job for Remco Evenepoel on the final climb.
“It was not really the intention to slip in the flight, but it was very difficult to control and Jumbo and Astana drove very offensively,” said Vervaeke.
“Then it seemed better to us to go along in the flight. It is better to attack than to be pushed into the defense. It has worked out ideally.”
Evenepoel eventually lost 15 seconds to Roglic in the toughest stage. On paper, the third week is not that bad, relatively speaking. What conclusion does Vervaeke draw?
“The Vuelta is not over yet, but I think the top 3 shows that they are racing a level higher. It will be an exciting final week and we still have some work to do as a team.”
“I know that stage 20 can still be very tough. I think the Vuelta will only be decided after that stage.”
After a number of lesser, searching years, Vervaeke is now coming to the fore thanks to the strong performance in this Vuelta.
“It’s just the max to try to win this Vuelta with Remco”, beamed Vervaeke. “This gives me so much energy and courage.”
“When I was riding my own pace on the steep final climb and I saw Remco coming to my wheel, I just got goosebumps. I got an energy boost and wanted to ride full for the leader.”
“Why Remco was in the lead? I think he just wanted to get in my wheel as quickly as possible”, concluded the lieutenant of Evenepoel.