Remco Evenepoel stormed to victory at his first ever WorldTour one-day race at the Clásica San Sebastián.
An impressive feat in itself before you contemplate the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider is only 19 years old, becoming the third youngest classics winner in history.
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The teenager’s win is yet another for the Belgian team who have had a 2019 season most could only dream of. At this point it’s probably easier to list the races they haven’t won than the ones they have.
“Winning this race was one of my dreams and now that I have done this, at my very first participation, all I can say is that it’s just incredible and wonderful”, Evenpoel said after the race.
Evenepoel appeared to have been dropped in the lead up to the second to last climb of the day, as well as going back to pick up bottles for team-mates, making his victory even more unexpected.
“On the narrow roads before the penultimate climb I lost a few positions and that’s why I was distanced, but in the downhill I went extremely fast and managed to come back. Then I decided to attack so I could be in front on the last climb and help Enric Mas.” he said.
“But we went full gas and found out we had a significant advantage at the start of the hill, so I kept going, while Enric did a marvellous job countering the moves.”
The Belgian says he didn’t come to the race expecting to compete but more to experience a WorldTour one-day race as he continues to develop as a rider. But before he knew it he was at the sharp end of the race, fighting for victory.
“I came here for the experience and all of the sudden, with less than 20 kilometres to go, I was there fighting for victory. In the last three to four kilometres I had tears in my eyes and it was all very emotional because I realised that this was going to be a big and important moment of my career.”
Much has been made of Evenepoel’s talent both in his native Belgium and in the wider cycling world, but the 19-year-old says he’ll need some time to get his head around the achievement. “I still can’t believe it, it’s something incredible and I will need a few days for everything to sink in. It’s been a great race for us and I want to thank everyone in the team for the confidence they always give me and their fantastic support.”
Next up for the youngster is the European Championships, taking place in Alkmaar, the Netherlands next week. “I will take part next week in the time trial race at the European Championships, another important event that I get to discover, he said. “I don’t know what to expect, but I am motivated to go there and give my best.”