Evenepoel Wins Stage 10 of Vuelta a Espana
22-year-old Remco Evenepoel (Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl) stunned cycling fans around the world by powering to victory in the individual time trial that followed rest day 2 of this year’s Vuelta. The Belgian rider, who won this year’s classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege, has taken advantage of the opportunities offered by the 2022 Vuelta a Espana to prove he has the physical capabilities needed to be considered a general classification favorite in Grand Tours to come.
With an average speed of 55.7 km/h, Evenepoel won the 30.9-kilometer individual time trial from Elche to Alicante in 00:33:18 and thereby significantly increased his lead on other general classification favorites, including defending Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) who finished 48 seconds behind Evenepoel in the time trial and is now second in the general rankings, 02:41 minutes behind Evenepoel. Movistar’s Enric Mas is third in the general classification, 03:03 minutes behind the race leader.
Being the last rider to roll down the start ramp, Evenepoel had had plenty of time to prepare his effort earlier in the day by training on the time trial route in the morning and by following teammate Remi Cavagna in the team car during his performance. The Frenchman rode a perfect race that put him in the hot seat with a time of 00:34:18. Starting his time trial approximately two hours after Cavagna crossed the finish line, Evenepoel appeared to easily find his rhythm and obtain a good flow on his Specialized Shiv time trial bike. He was soon to make a clear statement by reaching the first time point 21 seconds faster than Cavagna.
By the time Evenepoel reached the midway point of the course, the red jersey holder was in pole position to take his maiden Grand Tour stage victory. He continuously gained time on all general classification rivals – even when raindrops started to fall in the final twenty minutes of his effort.
Noteworthy general classification challengers who lost valuable time today include Team Ineos-Grenadiers’ Pavel Sivakov (01:27 minutes), Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco, 01:42), Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos-Grenadiers, 01:46), Miguel Angel Lopez (Team Astana, 01:47), and UAE Team Emirates’ Joao Almeida, who spent 02:13 minutes more on the time trial route that was contested in hot temperatures.
Following Jay Hindley’s victory in this year’s Giro d’Italia, the Bora-Hansgrohe team started the Vuelta a Espana with hopes of repeating their success in the final grand tour of the 2022 pro cycling season. Hindley, however, has delivered a lackluster performance in the Vuelta and finished 44th in today’s time trial, 03:48 minutes behind the winner.
The Bora-Hansgrohe also included their powerful sprinter Sam Bennett in their Vuelta lineup in an attempt to win the points classification, but the Irishman had to abandon the Vuelta before today’s stage after being infected with Covid. Bennett, however, did manage to secure his team two Vuelta stage victories and wore the green jersey as leader of the points classification until he was outdone by Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo).
“I am just so happy and proud with my first Grand Tour stage win,” stage winner Evenepoel said after being celebrated on the podium. “I saw what Rémi (Cavagna) did and knowing his time in the key sections of the race helped me a lot, as I noticed many were losing time in the second part of the course, which included that long downhill. I knew I had to push the entire time I was out on the course and after almost thirty kilometers, on the small bump to the finish, my legs were a bit heavy, but I left it all out there and it feels nice to know that I won my first Grand Tour stage wearing the leader’s jersey.”
“I achieved my dream and goal for this race, and it feels great. The pressure is off now, but my confidence and motivation are high, so we will continue to fight over the next stages. Winning the Vuelta remains a dream and we will try to keep the jersey for as long as possible. For the moment we will just enjoy what’s a fantastic day for us.”
Evenepoel’s time trial was one of the fastest in Grand Tour history and his Belgian QuickStep team will be grateful for Evenepoel’s success in the Vuelta as the team has surprisingly shown disappointing results and performances earlier this season and is currently ranked seventh in the WorldTour team’s classification – a classification the team has consistently won from 2018 to 2021. This season the QuickStep team has suffered from the long absence of World Champion Julian Alaphilippe who crashed severely in this year’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege and suffered a punctured lung and multiple fractures.