Remco Evenepoel dedicated his Volta ao Algarve stage victory to a fellow Belgian rider whose son died last week.
The 20-year-old gave an emotional tribute to Lotto-Soudal rider Nikolas Maes and his family, whose son Maurice was stillborn.
Maes, also racing the Volta ao Algarve, posted a devastating tribute to his child on Instagram, saying “forever our second son.”
Speaking after the stage, Evenepoel said: “There are more important things in life than winning a bike race and that’s why my thoughts are with him and his family.
“My victory is for them, and also for my family and girlfriend, who are always there for me and show me how important it is to have your loved ones by your side.”
Last week, 33-year-old Maes posted on Instagram about the death of his son, saying that just a few days before the planned birth they had the devastating news that Maurice’s heart had stopped beating in the womb.
He said: “Our world stood still and to date it still seems so unreal.
“Never thought that our first photo together would also be one of the last.
“We are very proud of your little man and hope that you have been able to feel the warmth and pure love that we cherish for you during the moments that we could spend together.”
Evenepoel’s stage victory was his third win of the year, after he took a stage and the overall in the Vuelta a San Juan.
He now leads in Algarve, but is on the same time as Bora-Hansgrohe’s Maximilian Schachmann who finished just behind on stage two.
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