emco Evenepoel took a hugely impressive win in Gavere, the East Flanders municipality more known for the cyclo-cross race it hosts each November. Fresh off his victory in the final stage time trial at the Tour de Suisse, the 22-year-old came at the start as the red-hot favourite and he lived up to the expectations, earning his first tricolour after a bronze and a silver at the previous participations.
Tucked over the aero bars of his Specialized S-Works Shiv to save watts and keep the speed, the “Aero Bullet” obliterated the field, putting himself in firm control of the 34.8km race by the halfway point and posting a time that put any questions about the winner to bed. The only rider to average more than 51km/h, Remco finished the time trial in 40:22 and took his tenth victory of a season which saw him taste victory also in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am with my maiden national title, one I had been chasing for a few years now. It was very hard with the heat today, I lost my bottle quite soon which wasn’t ideal, but I had an amazing bike and a good pace and could keep it the entire race. It’s great to be on the podium with a teammate and to know that I will wear this jersey in the time trials over the next twelve months. This win gives me a lot of motivation to keep working in this discipline. It’s an emotional day for me, because it showed that step by step I am returning to my top level”, Remco explained. “For Sunday we have a really strong team with several cards to play, and it will be important to support each other regardless of the scenario. We will definitely go for a good result.”
Last year’s winner Yves Lampaert finished runner-up, 37 seconds behind his teammate, giving our squad a memorable 1-2 in Gavere, while Dries Devenyns concluded the day in seventh place and made it three Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in the top 10.
“I gave everything out there, but I knew it was for second place. The longer a time trial is, the better for Remco. It was a fight until the end, against myself in the first place. I’m happy the jersey stays in the team, and that it’s the first time Remco takes it in the pro ranks. It’s such a beautiful jersey and it’s a pleasure to hand it over to him”, Yves added after the race.