Egan Bernal has admitted that he too is blown away by the form and ever-improving standing of Remco Evenepoel.
The Belgian sensation won La Vuelta a Burgos last week, his third general classification victory in as many stage races this year, adding to his success at Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina and Volta ao Algarve in Portugal.
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His triumphs has raised already heightened expectation around him, leading Vincenzo Nibali to identify him as an outside favourite to win October’s Giro d’Italia – something the 20-year-old agreed with.
Team Ineos’ Bernal, himself young and only three years older than Evenepoel, has been astounded by the displays of the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider.
“Remco breaks the paradigms,” Colombian Bernal told Win Sports. “He is small, he doesn’t weigh more than 60 kilograms, but he breaks everything.
“Remco has talent. He can go up and down and goes well on the flats too because he is a massive talent that breaks everything.”
Bernal is aiming to win a second successive Tour de France in September and showed his form by winning stage three of La Route d’Occitanie in France on Monday.
He became the youngest ever Tour winner in more than a century last July, and the emergence of winning young riders in recent years is counter to tradition in cycling.
Bernal commented: “Now, teams give confidence to young people. Before, in my opinion, they gave more priority to experienced riders, but now they put young riders as leaders of WorldTour teams.
“This is the explanation of why young riders now have important triumphs.”
Bernal also reserved special praise for his teammate Chris Froome who helped him to win stage three of the Pyrenean race.
His comments will please team management who are aware of the leadership battle at the forthcoming Tour involving Bernal, Froome and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas.
Froome will leave Ineos for Israel Start-Up Nation at the end of the season, a move that was first put into motion following Bernal’s comments that he would not sacrifice his own chance of glory at the Tour for another teammate such as Froome.
Bernal said: “I have to say thanks to someone who is more than a teammate, to Chris Froome who did an incredible job for me today.”