Remco Evenepoel says Vuelta a San Juan stage victory felt like ‘longest time trial of his life’

The European time trial champion took the win with a significant gap and now has the race lead

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Remco Evenepoel crushed his rivals in the time trial stage of the Vuelta a San Juan, taking his first victory of the year and moving into the race lead.

The European TT champion said the short 15km test felt like ‘the longest time trial of his life’ as he put 30 seconds into his nearest rival.

Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) ripped around the course with an average speed of 47km/h on his Specialized road bike, posting a time of 19-16, while Filippo Ganna (racing for the Italian national squad rather than Team Ineos) took second.

Speaking after his victory, 20-year-old Evenepoel said: “The time trial was short, but it felt like the longest one I did in my life because of the straight roads, even the climb felt endless.

“I went for the win and getting it makes me happy.

“Today I gained time on the flat, where I could sustain a strong pace, but also on the climb where I accelerated.

“This means I had good legs, which is a nice feeling so early in the season.”

Evenepoel surged into the race lead with the emphatic TT victory, raced over 15.2km from Ullum to Punta Negra, just outside the western city of San Juan in Argentina.

He leads overall by 32 seconds over Ganna with four stages left to race.

The stage victory is the first of the year for Evenepoel and his sixth win since his revelatory first season with Quick-Step last year.

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The Belgian added: “It was my first time trial of the year, my first time in the European champion’s jersey, and my first victory.

“It’s nice to be atop the overall standings, but we can’t lose our focus are there are still four stages to go.

“I’m not thinking about winning the GC, just taking it one day at a time, continue helping the team whenever and wherever I can, and we’ll just see at the end of the week where that takes me.”

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.