He did it in the Vuelta San Juan in January, in the Algarve in February and, as if nothing had happened since, he has repeated it in Burgos in August, in the first major race after the world pandemic. "Perfect week, perfect season," Remco Evenepoel calmly summarizes , as if nothing he was doing was extraordinary. At the age of 20 , an age improper for a professional, he has imposed himself with total authority on a list of rivals typical of a three-week test. Carapaz, Simon Yates, Landa, Mas, Valverde, Bennett, Sosa, Chaves, Majka... All of them have succumbed to the power of the boy who until three years ago was a footballer and had never competed on a bicycle.
"It is very complete and surprising because it is capable of making differences in any terrain. These guys have been hitting very hard , we will have to take advantage to try to win before they get more experience," says Mikel Landa , the only one who, by sheer tenacity, managed to tighten the nuts to Evenepoel in the classic stage queen of this Saturday with a final in Lagunas de Neila. The only one, too, who has given less than a minute with him (30 seconds) in the general classification. Although the stage prize went to Iván Ramiro Sosa, who in the two previous editions of the Vuelta a Burgos had achieved the double prize of the general and the queen stage.
They were the three protagonists of a beautiful day of cycling, in which Landa immediately saw the desire for war, to shake the shaker again after so much time of forced stoppage. His team, the Bahrain-McLaren , accelerated the race to the maximum in the approach to the two ascents that were chained at the end. Launched and reduced the platoon, Landa launched the first attack at the foot of the port, with 4.2 kilometers to go and kicked off the party.
That first move has already eliminated many cyclists, including Valverde and Mas , who have gone to Burgos still short of preparation. The Mitchelton de Yates y Chaves struggled to close the gaps that Landa was opening until its two leaders faltered. When there were 2.5 kilometers left, only Evenepoel and Sosa held the edge of the Alava rider, who by then already assumed that his goal became the stage, since it would not be possible to make up for lost time with the Belgian.
And Evenepoel, ambitious , went for more, with a move to 1.5 of goal that no one understood. Because just then, his partner Joao Almeida (another pearl who will have to speak in the coming months and years) came from behind to help him after a great comeback and the response his young leader gave him was to stop him. Another one of those gestures that Remco, so young, has to correct. Already at Picón Blanco they bothered both his gesture of shaking his shoulder on arrival and crowning with his jersey open, erasing the sponsors of his squad from the photo of victory. Sins of youth to which Patrick Lefevere, foreman of the Deceuninck , will have to put a stop to.
The fact is that Evenepoel's attack was half done, because Landa, a warrior to the end, enjoying his good feelings on the bike, insisted that it be so. Only Alavés lacked the icing on the stage victory, but this was for Sosa . The Colombian, the squatter of the three during the ascent, exhibited his command of the port with a winning move 700 meters from the top for which Landa found no answer. Neither does Evenepoel, already very punished and finally third in the stage, but first in the general classification, which is what really matters.
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