TOUR OF SPAIN – “I didn’t have the legs”, Evenepoel victim of his first failure

TOUR OF SPAIN - "I didn't have the legs", Evenepoel victim of his first failure
He is therefore very human. Some could doubt it as his domination was brilliant so far, but Remco Evenepoel, too, can experience failures. This was the case on Saturday in the highest percentages of the final ascent of the Sierra de la Pandera (8.4km at 7.8%), during the 14th stage of the Tour of Spain. Red jersey on the back, the 22-year-old Belgian prodigy lost its first seconds for his second Grand Tour.

While he had always imposed his dominance in the most severe passages, like his sparkling ascent of Las Praeres a few days ago, Remco Evenepoel could not, this time, respond to the attack of his main rival in the general classification, Primoz Roglic. However, it was not obvious, at first sight, to know if the Belgian was in the management against the offensive of the Slovenian or if the body simply could not follow this Saturday.

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His teammate Ilan Van Wilder admitted it himself: “Remco should have been there but I saw he dithered a bit, I thought he wanted to take his own pace.” His rhythm, the red jersey took him later, when it was necessary to limit the damage and lose as little time as possible. But at first, the Belgian was just not there.

It’s not chaos either

“It was not my best day for sure, I didn’t have the legs, I couldn’t accelerate when Roglic attacked”, conceded the leader of the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. Beyond the Slovenian, it was even Enric Mas, Joao Almeida and Miguel Angel Lopez who left the Belgian behind. A slump that will weigh on the overall, since Evenepoel only has “more than” 1’49” ahead of his runner-up Roglic and 2’43” over Mas.

Times that are nevertheless to be put into perspective. Yes, Remco Evenepoel isn’t invincible, yes Sunday may turn out to be even worse, but Patrick Lefevere’s squad aren’t the type to get overwhelmed by their emotions. “It’s not chaos either. We’re not going to panic, he lost a little time but it’s not catastrophic”, summarized Ilan Van Wilder. An opinion shared by its leader: “I think I’ve already made up time on complicated finishes, like at Las Praeres. I think I managed the loss of time well. I still have a 1’50” lead overall so there There is nothing to worry about and we just need to recover as quickly as possible before tomorrow.”

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I just had a little heavy legs

How to explain this failure of the strong man of this Vuelta? Several factors may come into play, including the fall he recently suffered: “It’s the second day after the fall so it’s still the day when you feel the muscles the most, but I’m not going to take that as an excuse.” explained Remco Evenepoel at the microphone of Eurosport.

The second reason: the breakdown of legs. “I just had a little heavy legs in the last 5 kilometers. Jumbo had already set a very strong pace on the penultimate climb.” However, we will also have to deal with Sunday, on even longer and more demanding slopes than those of the Sierra de la Pandera.

For the queen stage of this Tour of Spain, the peloton will have to face the Sierra Nevada pass at an altitude of more than 2500m. Heights that Remco Evenepoel has never experienced in competition. “It will be another day and a new opportunity for us to keep the jersey but it’s also a totally different finish like today,” he continued. Before concluding, smile : “A new day and hopefully new legs too.”

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