Red jersey Remco Evenepoel confidently on rest day: “Attention in Belgium gives me motivation”

Evenepoel is still the red jersey wearer on the third rest day. Although his lead has shrunk, he did gain confidence because he managed to limit the loss of time. “After my fall, I could barely stand on the pedals,” he said. “I lost quite a bit of time on Saturday because of that. It wasn’t the ideal situation and everything came together that day, but it could have been worse. I lost just under a minute, despite that pain. On Sunday it went much better and I showed my fighting spirit. My legs were still a bit stiff, but not as much as Saturday. Today I have hardly any pain and I hope that trend continues in the coming days.”

“Hopefully I don’t get sick this last week. That’s my biggest fear. There is corona in the peloton and there are already boys home, while there are also cycling further in the peloton. So hopefully I will be spared from corona or another disease. It would really be a nightmare to have to leave the Vuelta like this,” said Evenepoel. “And yes, it’s the third week. The freshness is gone. There are minor aches and pains, such as saddle soreness. Every rider here will have that. Because of the heat and the humid weather you do get some irritation on your male parts, but all in all it’s not that bad,” he laughed. “The motivation is great to keep defending that jersey, with the whole team.”

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Don’t just watch Roglic

Our compatriot did not mention one opponent in the final week. “The battle is still completely open,” he said at a press conference on Monday. “I’m wary of the entire top five.”

Evenepoel realizes that the belief in big lap wins is also starting to grow in Belgium, but remains calm himself that even special television broadcasts such as Vive le Vélo will be made next week. “I saw them at the hotel this morning, but I’m not working on them,” he said. “I don’t have time to look myself, but it is special what is going on and it motivates me and it is also alive in the team. I realize I could become the first Belgian Grand Tour winner in a long time, but I’m not going to call myself that just yet. I stay calm, because there are still six tough days to come. And we saw last week that a fall happened quickly.”

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“I’m not just looking at Roglic,” he said. “Saturday he was the best, Sunday it was Mas. But Mas was already at a reasonable distance in the standings, so I stayed calm and didn’t chase it like crazy when he attacked. I chose my own pace because I was afraid to go over my limit and in the end he didn’t take much time. Now the third week follows. I just have to try and keep up with the next few days. The more stages I get through without losing time, the better. And then it will be a big battle in the last mountain stage on Saturday”, he expects. “I don’t just look at Roglic and Jumbo, I keep an eye on the entire top five.”

“I have to keep my composure myself,” he finished, “and never think it’s ‘in’, the battle is only over in Madrid. We remain calm in the squad. Stage win is in, I’ve been wearing the red jersey for ten days, we just have to fight for it until Madrid, but nothing is certain.”

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Red jersey Remco Evenepoel confidently rest day Attention Belgium motivation

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