The Belgian is eighth with two stages to go until the second rest day.
Stage 14 brought another showdown between the GC contenders, who started the day from Cittadella, in the province of Padua, heading then north-east towards the Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the daunting Monte Zoncolan (14.1km, 8.5%), which made its seventh appearance in the race, but just the second one from the Sutrio side. It was a day of two fights, one that had the breakaway in the spotlight, and one those trying to make an impact on the overall standings.
While the first one was won by Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa), who dropped all his companions en route to victory, the other was properly ignited only in the closing kilometers of the stage, when the slope pitched up to an insane 25%. Remco Evenepoel stayed with the small peloton until with two kilometers to go, when the climb became more and more torturous and he lost contact with the group. Helped by João Almeida, who paced him in the finale, the 21-year-old Grand Tour debutant found his rhythm on this gargantuan climb and concluded the stage just 1:30 down on the maglia rosa.
“It was a hard stage, also with the low temperatures, and I felt that my legs were running out of energy when we hit the steepest parts of the ascent. I lost time again, but I still am in the top 10, which is a good thing, and will continue to fight every day. I felt my long break today. When the power isn’t there, it’s just the way things go, and today I knew I would suffer in those last three kilometers, where the most explosive gradients were. Considering everything, losing 1:30 is not that bad”, explained Remco, who is eighth in the general classification.
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