Giro d’Italia 2021: Remco Evenepoel says ‘I felt the legs were pretty empty, that’s why I couldn’t follow’ after brutal gravel stage

The 21-year-old lost two minutes on the road to Montalcino, but said he remains confident and will keep fighting

Remco Evenepoel lost time on stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Getty Images )

Remco Evenepoel said “he felt his legs were empty” on the brutal gravel roads of the Giro d’Italia on stage 11, as he lost time to the favourites.  

The Belgian star struggled on the unpaved roads as Ineos Grenadiers tore the race to pieces for race leader Egan Bernal, with Evenepoel losing two minutes by the finish.

Deceuninck - Quick-Step rider Evenepoel battled hard but finally lost contact with the general classification favourites 20km from the finish in Montalcino, losing time but not his confidence. 

Speaking after the finish the 21-year-old, who hadn’t race for nine months before the Giro due to injury,  said: “Unfortunately, I lost two minutes. It wasn’t the best day for me. I was suffering a lot on the second sector, then on the third one, when they started sprinting, I felt the legs were pretty empty, that’s why I was in the last position and couldn’t follow. 

“It’s the way my body reacted after eleven days of racing that came after so much time with no racing. I’m thankful to the team and João [Almeida] for the job they did for me today, from the start until the finish.” 

After finishing 26th on the stage, 2-06 down on Bernal, Evenepoel slipped from second place overall down to seventh, now 2-22 off the maglia rosa. 

But there is cause for hope for the rising star - in the gravel stage to Montalcino in the 2010 Giro, Ivan Basso lost two minutes before going on to win the race overall. 

“It’s not a good result for me, but I’m still seventh in my first Grand Tour and remain confident, as there’s still a long way to go until Milano”, said Evenepoel after Wednesday’s stage. 

>>> Sir Dave Brailsford says Ineos planned to attack from the first gravel sector at Giro d’Italia 2021

Deceuninck - Quick-Step sports director Klaas Lodewyck said: “We knew it would be a difficult stage. We lost some time, but considering the circumstances, it’s not the end of the world. We aren’t the only ones who lost time, it was a hard stage for a lot of riders. We continue to remain optimistic and motivated ahead of the big mountain stages.”  

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.