La Vuelta – Remco Evenepoel and Quick-Step triumphed together in their first grand tour in Spain

La Vuelta - Remco Evenepoel and Quick-Step triumphed together in their first grand tour in Spain

I’m really happy to be the first to win a Grand Tour for Patrick Lefevere“. Remco Evenepoel has the recognition of the belly. He, the former captain of the youth football teams in Belgium, between 14 and 17 years old, did not take long to greet the big boss of the Quick-Step team. This team, gifted like no other for the classics, Trafalgar shots and other sprints of all kinds, did not have the DNA of the great tours.

Here and there, some of its runners had shone there but they were only one shots. With Evenepoel, everything is different. The team chose him for that, to get there. And he, in return, trusted this bunch of crazy people who also just won their first grand tour. Interviewed at the end of 2018 by our colleagues from Bike-ClubRemco Evenepoel had seen the journalist assure him that he gave the impression of being cut out for the classics, and had replied this: “Personally, I think I’m more cut out for stage races, because I have very good recovery, which matters a lot. I climb well, I’m good on timed exercise. ” Did Patrick Lefevere know that he was perhaps holding a unique runner for him? The latter, he knew in any case where he wanted to go.

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As such, that he chose the structure of the Belgian manager may raise questions. Incubator for talent, the Quick-Step has always had to do with young people to make up for its small economic outlay on the behemoths of the peloton. But if it has a recognized know-how for one-day races, the same could not be said of the big laps where Lefevere’s teams have more often played the role of spoilsport than that of head of attach. And yet, Evenepoel trusted the Belgian structure.

I have to tell him congratulationssmiled a moved Lefevere at the microphone of Eurosport. Thank you for believing in us, in our team when you were 17, when I was eaten with your parents and you at the train station. Since then, he has grown a lot. I promised his parents that I would take care of him as if he were my own son. We are proud“The relationship he has with his young rider is like no other. Perhaps because there is this Belgian filiation but above all because the jeweler Lefevere had a hell of a jewel to polish and he made it a gold runner.

History for Belgium

With this Vuelta won, both validate their project. For Remco Evenepoel, that of winning a grand tour with a legendary team beyond the borders of the flat country and respected inside. For Patrick Lefevere, that of having led one of his own to this success which was refused to him and to prove that his team is also capable of shining on this ground. “It’s a piece of history for Belgiumhe remembers. There are people here in the team who weren’t even born when a Belgian last won a grand tour (Johan de Muynck, Giro 1978). We said ‘Remco is the future grand tour winner’ but there was a lot of disagreement around this idea. He took his time.”

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To these words, the choice to send the little Remco to the Giro 2021 comes to mind, without a preparatory race after a fall in the Tour of Lombardy which cost him “between six months and one year of career” according to the estimates of his boss. Lefevere had been scolded for that. For having sent him to the fire, for having made him his leader. But was he thinking of victory? Not in the least, he explained recently. Only, the Belgian media machine had started and nothing could stop it. Too much time had passed since the last Belgian success in the field for hope not to inflame the crowds. Evenepoel simply learned a lot from an extremely difficult Tour of Italy.

The plan, always the plan

A few months later, he trumpeted that his 2022 season would revolve around two objectives: Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Spain that Lefevere had chosen for him. A big, pressure-free tour that he has been preparing meticulously since May, chaining courses and exercises in the mountains, in Sierra Nevada and in Livigno. And even when Julian Alaphilippe had to give up the Tour de France, the Quick-Step did not give in to the temptation to send Evenepoel to have a headliner there. The plan had been written black on white, it was not necessary to deviate from it.

This Sunday, Remco Evenepoel and Quick-Step will celebrate this great and beautiful victory together. Throughout the evening, we will exchange memories. The most distant will go back to 2018. The most precise will evoke this idea of ​​triumphing one day over a grand tour and the stages through which it was necessary to pass. Later, perhaps, we will write on a piece of tablecloth, the dreams of tomorrow.

The happiness of Remco Evenepoel on the Vuelta 2022

Credit: Getty Images

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