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Tour de France: “The best time trialist”: Pogacar bows to Evenepoel

Tour de France: “The best time trialist”: Pogacar bows to Evenepoel
Tour de France: “The best time trialist”: Pogacar bows to Evenepoel

In his first Tour, young star Evenepoel triumphs in the individual time trial. The Belgian wins the duel with Pogacar. Afterwards, the Slovenian praises him.

Remco Evenepoel has always been ahead of his time. In 2016 he was still a junior national player for Belgian football record champions RSC Anderlecht, and at the age of 16 he ran the Brussels half marathon in a splendid 1:16:15 hours. He then continued his record hunt in cycling. Now, in his first tour, he has achieved his first stage win in the Tour de France. And that earned him praise from his opponent: “He is the best time trialist in the race,” said the overall winner Tadej Pogacar.

On Friday, Evenepoel beat two-time Tour winner Pogacar in the first individual time trial of the 111th edition. He was twelve seconds faster than the Slovenian. Pogacar remained in the yellow jersey, but Evenepoel is only 33 seconds away from the coveted jersey. The time trial winner did not get cocky, however: “Tadej is almost unreachable. But it’s a bike race, you don’t know what will happen.”

Comparisons with idol Merckx

If he does take over the yellow jersey, he would be the youngest rider to wear the leader’s jersey in all three major tours. The 24-year-old won the Vuelta in 2022 and wore the pink jersey for four days at the Giro d’Italia last year.

The Belgian talent of the century, who is so often compared to the legendary Eddy Merckx in his home country, is increasingly fulfilling the high expectations. He has already demonstrated his exceptional skills with his world championship titles in the road race (2022) and the time trial (2023). He has also already won the difficult spring classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège twice.

Evenepoel with problems in the high mountains

But the young star has his problems in the high mountains. On the first difficult climb to the Col du Galibier, he couldn’t quite keep up with the rear wheel of Tour star Tadej Pogacar. If he can improve, a lot is possible. The youngster has certainly prepared conscientiously. Since his Tour dress rehearsal at the Criterium du Dauphiné, he has lost 2.5 kilograms in weight.

Evenepoel doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. He also appeared before the start of the Tour wearing a mask. He just doesn’t want to get another corona infection like last year at the Giro, when he had to return home in the pink jersey on the first rest day. When possible new additions to the German Red Bull team are discussed, his name is mentioned again and again. No wonder, after all, the team could cover Evenepoel’s salary with the powerful sponsor. However, team boss Patrick Lefevere of Evenepoel’s Soudal-Quick-Step racing team is not a pleasant negotiating partner.

Source: Stern

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