Volta | 09/06/2022 | 08:20
by Francesca Monzon
Remko does not want to leave the red jersey and hopes to become the first Belgian, after 44 years, to win one of the three grand laps. Johan de Moynck was the last Belgian to have the jersey of the great Giro captain, who in 1978 won the Giro d’Italia. Before him in 1977 Freddy Martens made his Vuelta di Spagna and Lucien van Imbe won the 1976 Tour de France.
Evenepoel wants to win and is calm, as he feels he has recovered well after Thursday’s crash that forced him to give important seconds to Primoz Roglic. “It is true that I could be the first Belgian to win by a wide margin in a long time, but we still have to race for six days – I want to race day in and day out and stay calm,” Evenbühl said at the press conference. “Unfortunately, we had to deal with Julien Alaphilippe who had to leave the race and then had a crash. I am satisfied, and as I said from the start, winning the stage and the top 10 or five places would be my big dream. We are on the right track to reach this great goal and dream.”
Being competitive in the final week of a big lap is not easy and Remco knows that their opponents are very strong. “I probably won’t be able to get on the podium in Madrid, as I said I had a bad accident. Danger lurks around every corner and everyone is a little afraid of the roads in southern Spain. In the corners we go very slowly because it is really slippery and very dangerous and no one wanted to leave last week’s Vuelta because of an accident. This also applies to me and the race will only end when we arrive in Madrid.”
Remco Evenepoel’s most dangerous opponents are Roglic and Mass, who ran well over the weekend. “Roglic was stronger on Saturday and Mas was very strong on Sunday. When Mass attacked, I knew I still had a good lead and didn’t want to go over the edge. We were already above 2000m at that moment and after such a difficult ride the downtime I had was clearly limited. We’re now starting week three and the strongest-legged rider is likely to be the best in the remaining mountain stages. Velta is still far from the end of it.”
Roglic is strong, experienced and knows the Spanish roads well. After a disappointing run, the Slovenian is not satisfied with the podium and will try to win the Vuelta for the fourth time in a row.
“My only job will be to follow Roglic. That’s the big goal. I think the fight for second place is more open and the difference between Mas and Roglic is only 25 seconds. Then Movistar needs points to keep his WorldTour license and between second and third in a big lap, in terms of points, There is a big difference. The more stages I can finish without wasting time, the better. On Saturday there will be a big battle in the last mountain stage up to the top of Puerto de Navacerrada and whoever wins there will have won the race.”
Last year the Flemish made his first big lap in Italy, but in the third week he was forced to give up. “After two weeks of racing you can no longer be at your highest level and we also had a really tough weekend. I obviously have a different condition than last year in the Giro, but I also had completely different preparations. I’m doing really well and my head is fine too. The legs get tired, there are pains in the saddle, and the hands are also sore after the accident. It’s about recovering and trying to waste as little energy as possible just getting off the bike, only that way you can win.”
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