Remco Evenepoel produced a sumptuous performance at the one-day Figueira Champions Classic race – which signalled the beginning of his sixth campaign in the Soudal Quick-Step colors – delivering our squad’s fourth win of the season after a long-range attack that pulverised the peloton and gave no chance to his opponents, who saw him for the last time Saturday afternoon with more than 50 kilometers to go.
That was the moment the ITT World Champion got out of the saddle and launched a stinging acceleration from a bunch that up until that point had been softened up by his Soudal Quick-Step teammates, whose stellar effort the entire day left him in an ideal position on the steepest part of the Enforca Cães climb (900m, 7.3%), where he decided to make his move.
Once he cleared the ascent with a twenty-second advantage over the chasers, Remco went in time trial mode and continued to increase his buffer with each kilometer, to the point he started the final lap of the 192.4km race with more than a minute on the group behind, despite a combined effort of the latter. The remaining climbs didn’t slow him down, on the contrary, the Belgian – untouchable from the moment he took off – adding to his margin unfazed by the demanding terrain before eventually arriving at the finish in Figueira da Foz with an incredible gap of almost two minutes.
“I’m happy I could start the season with a victory just as I wanted, it’s good for my confidence and for my next race. I enjoyed the parcours here and I liked riding it alone for more than 50 kilometers. The original plan wasn’t to attack with two laps to go, but instead wait for the last climbs of the race. On the other hand, when I noticed the peloton was down to around 25 riders and many were struggling with the pace of my teammates, I just decided to go and see what would happen.”
“Once I got news that I had 20 seconds at the top of the climb, and later 40 seconds as I entered the final lap, I kept going. I had the power to push in the headwind, which was no joke today, and I’m delighted with how things panned out and with this win”, added Remco, who made it back-to-back Soudal Quick-Step victories at the Figueira Champions Classic.