Vincenzo Nibali says Remco Evenepoel will be 'a real rival' at the Giro d'Italia

The Italian has described the young Belgian as 'extraordinary'

Vincenzo Nibali and Remco Evenepoel on stage two of the Volta ao Algarve 2020 (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Vincenzo Nibali has identified Remco Evenepoel as a "real rival" when the young Belgian sensation takes the start line in his first Grand Tour at the Giro d'Italia later this year.

Evenepoel was first to the summit finish on stage two of the Volta ao Algarve, attacking with 200m to go and beating a number of elite and experienced climbers including Nibali, Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Miguel Ángel López (Astana).

The victory is only the 20-year-old's eighth professional win, and Nibali remembers one performance from the Deceuninck - Quick-Step rider in last year's Deutschland Tour that highlighted his talent.

>>> Remco Evenepoel says pink jersey at Giro d’Italia ‘would change my life totally’

"In one of the stages, he attacked a hundred kilometers from the finish. I was very impressed," Nibali told Wielerflits. "The performances he put in over the following weeks confirmed my feeling and his victory today really proves that he is an extraordinary talent if you can do this at the age of 20."

Following a silver medal in the elite men's time trial at the Yorkshire World Championships, Evenepoel began 2020 with overall victory at the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina, and now looks set to defend the race lead at the Volta ao Algarve with an individual time trial still to come.

Later in the year, Evenepoel will make his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia, which Vincenzo Nibali will be focusing on instead of the Tour de France, and the Italian sees the Belgian as a rival for the top of the general classification.

"He will be a real rival, I think," Nibali said. "His only downside is that he is still young. How does a twenty-year-old rider cope with a three-week race? Young riders need some time before they can really compete for a Grand Tour victory. But I gradually get the feeling that this theory does not hold true for Remco Evenepoel."

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.