Remco Evenepoel: World champion, honorary citizen and national hero
Last weekend, Remco Evenepoel crossed the finish line first at the World Cycling Championships in Australia. The 22-year-old Belgian, who also won the Vuelta a few days earlier, has had a banner year. On Sunday, he was honoured in his hometown Dilbeek and later on the Grand Place in Brussels.
On Sunday afternoon, Evenepoel was honoured at the Westrand cultural centre in Dilbeek as the seventh honorary citizen of the Flemish-Brabant municipality. "It is quite an honour to be able to experience this," said the world cycling champion. "Being honoured as an honorary citizen of your hometown, especially at such a young age, is something very special."
Several hundred cyclists then accompanied Evenepoel on his journey from the Flemish-Brabant commune to the Belgian capital, where many more supporters awaited him on the Grand Place.
Mayor Philippe Close (PS) welcomed Evenepoel at Brussels city hall, after which the world champion greeted the crowd from the balcony to loud cheers and applause. He was accompanied by several teammates, including Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert and Pieter Serry.
Manneken Pis was also in the mood. For the occasion, the urinating little man wore his national cycling outfit. In short, it was an unforgettable day for the Belgian national hero.
© BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK