Remco Evenepoel does not panic after a small minute loss of time in Vuelta: “I hope this was my bad day”

Remco Evenepoel does not panic after a small minute loss of time in Vuelta: “I hope this was my bad day”
Remco Evenepoel does not panic after a small minute loss of time in Vuelta: “I hope this was my bad day”

“I think I have already gained more time on another final climb”, Remco Evenepoel opened his account in the flash interview after the stage. “It certainly wasn’t my best day, I couldn’t accelerate when Primoz Roglic attacked. But I’m still 1 minute 49 seconds ahead of him in the standings, that’s nothing to worry about. Now I have to recover and try to survive tomorrow.”

Evenepoel crashed in Thursday’s stage, but he did not want to use that as an excuse. “I still have some stiff muscles, but after the rest day it should be gone. It’s the second day after the crash and that’s often a day when it hurts you, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse. I just didn’t have my best legs, so I hope this was my bad day in this Vuelta.”

“A bit surprised by the gradients”

“It was a difficult ride anyway,” Evenepoel analyzed. “Much more difficult and steeper than I had anticipated. Not a long stage, but a lot of altimeters. Especially in the last part. I was a bit surprised by those gradients. The best riders could pull away at a time when my legs were full of lactic acid. I release at four kilometers from the finish. It’s not like I completely parked or collapsed. I just didn’t have the legs to follow on those steep sections and just had to ride at my own pace. Although I was a little over my head in the beginning. I came shorter, but then lost ground again. If I had immediately looked for my own pace, I might have lost 15 to 20 seconds less on Roglic. But that kind of thing happens when it’s in full swing. Enric Mas eventually only drives 20 seconds away from me. I actually didn’t do too bad, Roglic was just better than the rest and his team was racing at such a fast pace that they just deserved to get away. Although I would rather not lose such a big time to be somewhat comfortable in the red jersey.”

“Less fear for Sierra Nevada”

“I was more afraid of this arrival than of tomorrow’s in Sierra Nevada. That climb becomes flatter towards the end and you can sit in the wheel more easily. Today it was the other way around: start flatter and end very steep. Tomorrow is a very different course and someone can stand out again. In the Tour de Suisse I didn’t perform very well at high altitude, but then I didn’t have the form I have today either. I still have a lead of 1 minute and 49 seconds, which is quite a lot. I’m going to try to limit the loss tomorrow or keep that lead stable. It is also true that no one helps us along the way, we always have to do everything alone. I hope the guys – including myself – can recover well. A new day, new opportunities. My confidence is intact. Why not? I’m still wearing the red jersey and I’ve released them a few times as well.”

Ilan Van Wilder: “This is not a disaster”

“We should not panic”: that was also the message of Evenepoel’s teammate Ilan Van Wilder. “Roglic has already lost time. It can happen, but it’s not a disaster. Remco drove at his own pace and yes, he lost some time. But that’s nothing to worry about. First we look at tomorrow, then there is a rest day and then we’ll see what happens.”

“I said that Roglic had super legs on the climbs. I had a good pace, but then he suddenly attacked”, explained Van Wilder. “Normally, Remco is quickly on the move, but this time it took a while. Maybe that was a sign that he was a little less today, but still good. He doesn’t lose ten minutes hey, it’s 52 seconds. So nothing to be concerned about. That there will be another tough ride tomorrow? Yes, but for Roglic it’s the same. We try to run our own race every day.” (Read more below the photo)

Remco Evenepoel is still the red jersey wearer. — © BELGA

Van Wilder also indicated that the final climb was more difficult and, above all, steeper than expected. “The climb before that was a real runner, but Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma) set a solid pace there. It wasn’t like everyone was on the limit, but it was going fast. Then we had to position ourselves towards the last climb. Then Alejandro attacked Valverde, which really didn’t matter. I just wanted to check, but then Chris Harper (Jumbo-Visma) came and accelerated. I had to give way to the head, I gave it another sniff to thin it out further. Apparently Roglic had something left and accelerated again. Which I think is punishment, because I drove fast. He probably had good legs today, but everyone can have a good or bad day.”

Primoz Roglic: “Hopefully I can keep this up”

The Slovenian defending champion kept it short after the finish. “It was a good day,” says Roglic. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Hopefully I can keep this up. I feel better now. I’m still a little behind, but the race is still long. The boys did a good job today. I’m happy to be part of the team, we’ll see what happens in the next few days.”

Tags: Remco Evenepoel panic small minute loss time Vuelta hope bad day

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