The Belgian took the third GC victory of his short career after a storming ride on the stage 5 individual time trial.
Remco Evenepoel demonstrated again not just his knack to thrive under pressure, but also his prowess against the clock, producing a flying ride on his Specialized Shiv over the testing 20.3km up-and-down course around Lagoa, the site of the final Volta ao Algarve day. The last rider to roll down the ramp, Remco bested the reference time at both intermediate checkpoints before stopping the clock in a stunning 24:07, a time ten seconds faster than the benchmark set by the world champion.
For Evenepoel, this was the second individual time trial of the season, after the one in Argentina four weeks ago, and the 20-year-old averaged over 50km/h on Sunday’s stage, putting more than half a minute between him and the two riders who rounded out the overall podium. This incredible display of power and panache secured his third GC triumph since turning pro last year, after those at the Tour of Belgium and Vuelta a San Juan.
The youngest ever winner in the history of the Volta ao Algarve, an eye-catching performance that came after a splendid all-round display throughout the week (which included another victory atop Alto da Foía), Evenepoel was emotional and struggling for words at the finish: “I went full gas today, and by the time I finished I knew the GC was safe, but nobody knew what was the stage result. It was only when Tom told me the result in the radio that I was relieved and could celebrate this win, which was important, as it came against the World ITT Champion and after a hard week of racing, where I went all out on both summit finishes, but also on today’s hard course.”
“What I feel right now? A lot of emotion and happiness, I can tell you that. It’s the perfect way to conclude the race, as I really wanted to wrap up the general classification as a way to say a big thank you to the entire team. They worked a lot for me, were so strong, did a perfect job and showed that incredible all for one, one for all Wolfpack mentality that has become a defining trait of our squad. I am happy I won this beautiful event, a result which only adds to my confidence ahead of the next goals”, concluded the prodigious Belgian, who took home also the best young rider jersey.
Remco Evenepoel wasn’t the only Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to shine under the Portuguese sun this week. Dutch Champion Fabio Jakobsen racked up his second victory of the season in Lagos as well as the points jersey, while João Almeida – who played a key role in the two mountain stages – concluded the race in ninth place, for his first top 10 with the Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
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