Evenepoel claims world world title, too: "I will never have a better season"
At 22 years old, Belgian Remco Evenepoel can call himself the new world cycling champion. Only two weeks after winning the Vuelta , the phenomenon from Schepdaal (Flemish Brabant province) successfully completed a solo of some 25 km in Wollongong, Australia, on Sunday.
"This doesn't compare to my title in the juniors. After a long season, it's fantastic to finish like this. I'm super happy that I had the legs today", Evenepoel said in an initial reaction.
Evenepoel shook off his Kazakh companion Alexey Lutsenko 25km before the finish line and then rode solo to the rainbow jersey. "I soon felt I was stronger than Alexey. The last climb was very tough, my legs exploded but I knew there were a long descent and a five-km flat section to follow. I was told the gap was widening so I kept going. This is a World Cup, you just want to grab that jersey."
"The Belgians really rode as a team", Evenepoel underlined. "We said beforehand that the way didn't matter but that we just wanted to become world champions as a team. Wout (van Aert) would get a chance in the sprint, I had to try earlier. The early attack made it today. We really deserved it."
Evenepoel won the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) only a fortnight ago, his first major tour, after also winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Clasica San Sebastian, among others. He may now ride around with the rainbow jersey for a season. "It's just a pity that the next World Cup is already in August. It will be one of the shortest years as world champion but I don't care about that. "It's something I've been dreaming of and now after a monument, a big classic, a Grand Tour and now world champion, I think I've won everything I could this year. I will never have a better season again. Tonight follows a serious party. I don't think I will see my bed."
Frenchman Christophe Laporte eventually came in second, claiming silver, with Australia's Michael Matthews crossing the finish line in third place. Julian Alaphilippe, whose goal was to win a third successive world title, finished more than three minutes behind Evenepoel.
© BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM