Remco Evenepoel says he didn't want to explode on the final climb chasing the late attacks by some of the other race favourites on stage four of the Giro d'Italia 2021, but is happy with how he performed despite losing time.
Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) had almost his entire team on the front of the peloton for the final 35km of the race to try and bring the gap down to the leading riders in the breakaway which went on to take the stage and the pink leader's jersey.
The 21-year-old Belgian lost 11 seconds alongside pre-race favourite Simon Yates (BikeExchange) to other general classification riders Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech), Hugh Carthy (EF-Nippo), Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious), and Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo).
Despite the time loss, Evenepoel only dropped a place in the GC to another favourite in Vlasov with the two young riders sitting in seventh and eighth respectively.
Speaking after the stage, Evenepoel said: "The final climb was a tough one and the weather didn’t help. The effort I had to do was a short and intense one, something that I didn’t do for some time now, and I think I managed it well.
"When the others attacked, I didn’t want to explode and rode at my own pace. I think I managed it well, losing just a few seconds. My body needs to get used to this kind of racing again, but overall, I am satisfied with this stage. A big thanks to the boys for protecting me today."
Deceuninck - Quick-Step no longer have the luxury of a co-leadership though, as last year's standout rider, João Almeida lost 5-58 to the eventual winner, Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) and now sits in 42nd place at 5-48 down on new pink jersey Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation), and over four minutes down on many of the GC contenders.
This, if anything, has made the race more simple to approach in a way for the team with sports director, Klaas Lodewyck being left content at how the day went.
"We knew it was going to be a very hard day for everybody and the goal was not to lose too much time, which we succeeded with Remco," Lodewyck said. "We will try to recover now from this effort, hopefully, we’ll have an easy day tomorrow and we’ll then see what we can do in the next stages."
The fifth stage of the 104th Giro is absolutely pan-flat with just 200 metres of elevation gain. All being well in the bunch it is likely to be a quiet day with a bunch sprint at the end, but could be tricky if the wind picks up over the 177km between Modena and Cattolica.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!
I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.
It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.
After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.
When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.
My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.
Are gravel races too challenging to broadcast?
FloSports and Life Time have mutually agreed to cease broadcast production for the Life Time Grand Prix
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
The 5 Best Gravel Events You’ve Never Heard Of
The 5 Best Gravel Races You’ve Never Heard Of: Skull 120, Cascadia Super Gravel, Iceland's The Rift and Further and Peacham Fall Fondo
By Jacob Rathe • Published
Remco Evenepoel puts in stunning 45km solo attack to win Clásica San Sebastián for a second time
'I think I can go with a really good feeling towards la Vuelta, and with a lot of confidence' says the 22-year-old Belgian
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Geraint Thomas takes overall victory at Tour de Suisse as Remco Evenepoel wins stage eight time-trial
The Welshman has found his form ahead of the Tour de France
By Pete Trifunovic • Published
Mark Cavendish wants to continue for 'at least' two more years
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sprinter turns 37 this weekend
By Adam Becket • Published
'Do you know what you've done?' - relive Remco Evenepoel's dramatic Liège-Bastogne-Liège win
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rescued season at La Doyenne, but also lost riders in horror crash
By Adam Becket • Published
Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory 'my best day on the bike ever' says Remco Evenepoel
The Belgian prodigy attacked on the La Redoute, riding 29km solo to take his first Monument victory, saving Quickstep-Alpha Vinyl’s classics season
By Owen Rogers • Published