Remco Evenepoel’s victory in the Clasica San Sebastián is already a week old, but that doesn’t stop Patrick Lefevere from doing an extensive analysis. The team boss of Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl labels the victory as ‘phenomenal’, although according to the Belgian there could have been more. The reason for that: ‘those Spanish engines’.
Evenepoel made the hearts of Belgian cycling fans beat faster last week. At 45 kilometers from the finish he flew off solo, after which he only saw his rivals again after the finish. “I thought the team was driving hard early on,” Lefevere said in his column The newspapaer. “According to my team manager, Remco was constantly talking on the radio and we now know that this is a good sign. But then it leaves from so far away. I liked it a bit risky.’
So it went well with Evenepoel, who did not see his pursuers return. Behind the young Belgian, Carlos Rodriguez and Pavel Sivakov (both INEOS Grenadiers) tried to close the gap, which, according to Lefevere, were helped by the engines. Evenepoel had almost two minutes left on number two Sivakov at the finish, but according to the patlef there could have been more.
Lefevere: ‘Luckily I’m no longer on Twitter’
“That Spanish TV engine was constantly riding in front of those two for Carlos Rodriguez, the champion of Spain,” Lefevere said. ‘Fortunately, I’m not on Twitter anymore, because otherwise I would have thrown myself on it again. If those bikes hadn’t driven there, he would have won by three minutes. The Spaniards always exaggerate. Remco has never ridden a bike and those two from INEOS rode far enough ahead that the bike could easily have been behind them.’
Rodriguez was eventually overtaken by Tiesj Benoot and Bauke Mollema, who finished fourth and fifth respectively. The Spanish champion himself finished fifth.