Soudal Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team (Belgium) - Press Release: Soudal Quick-Step’s leader shows his punch en route to win number 48 in the pro ranks.
Remco Evenepoel surged to his 11th win of the season on the very first summit finish of the Spanish Grand Tour – Arinsal, a hard 8.3km climb in Andorra used in the first decade of the century twice by the Volta a Catalunya. Monday’s success, his third in La Vuelta, propelled the Belgian Champion at the top of the general classification ahead of what should be two quieter days.
Stage three was a pretty calm one, despite a furious start, with the real big moves of the GC contenders coming only in the last three kilometers of the climb. Up until that point, Soudal Quick-Step had been of the teams in the spotlight, Andrea Bagioli and Mattia Cattaneo keeping an eye on the first breakaway attempts, while Pieter Serry worked hard to bring back the escapees before the final ascent of the day, where the headwind complicated things for those who wanted to make an early move.
None of the attacks that came resulted in a decisive gap, so all the favourites entered the last kilometer together. Evenepoel surprised everybody by kicking out with around 250 meters to go, a stunning acceleration which allowed him to enter first in the last corner and basically seal the victory, his fifth in a Grand Tour. Monday’s success came with multiple visits to the podium for the 23-year-old, who was awarded with the red jersey, the white one and the polka-dot tunic – meaning he now leads three of La Vuelta’s four classifications.
As he celebrated his success, Remco was involved in an incident in the meters after the finish line, where he collided with a member of the race organisation staff. Remco received a cut to his head but has been given the all clear after an examination by medics.
“I am happy with the win and the fact that I can have such a good punch after a hard climb. The team did a great job today, they were perfect, made sure of not spending too much energy, and deserve praise for their work. The guys have a lot of confidence in me and I have in them, and I am delighted this has led to a stage victory in the first week of the race.”
Evenepoel, who now has a total of 17 red jerseys in the Vuelta, continued: “The recon I did some weeks ago helped me to know about that final corner, and that’s what made the difference today. When I went and saw that I had a couple of meters over the others, I just kept pushing. It’s a win that reminded me of the one I took on La Molina, in Catalunya. Moving into the overall lead so early was never the plan, but if you can fight for a stage victory, then you always have to go for it. We will celebrate this success a bit this evening, then focus on the next days.”