Remco Evenepoel has inevitably lived up to expectation and taken his first pro win on stage two of the Belgium Tour.
The 19-year-old has been on the cusp of victory ever since he joined Deceuninck – Quick-Step in January, and it was only a matter of time before the moment arrived.
Evenepoel chose a perfect venue for his maiden glory, as he eviscerated the field in his home tour.
Victory came after 180.8km of racing between Knokke-Heist and Zottegem, just 30km from his home village of Schepdaal.
Evenepoel had been in an escape with compatriot and Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal), who was dropped 6km from the finish.
The junior world champion, both on the road and in the time trial, rode to a solo victory 42 seconds ahead of his team-mate Fabio Jakobsen who took second.
Evenepoel’s rise to the WorldTour has been much-hyped after his prodigious performances in the junior ranks, which included destroying the field in both the junior time trial and road race at the Innsbruck World Championships late last season.
His domination in the junior ranks saw him win 23 of the 35 races he entered last season, including the double at the Worlds.
He skipped the under-23 ranks to join Belgian WorldTour outfit Deceuninck – Quick-Step this season, where he has been on the brink of victory since his first race.
After finishing third in the individual time trial at the Vuelta a San Juan in January, his first pro race, Evenepoel went on to win the youth classification and finish ninth overall in Argentina.
His next best performance followed in the Tour of Turkey, when he was fourth on the queen stage and finished fourth overall.
Something had clearly clicked for the young revelation, who was staggering in the climb event of Hammer Limburg earlier this month, singlehandedly taking the race for his team, before victory came in Belgium.