Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), the 19-year-old winner of the Clásica San Sebastián, is aiming to cap his season at the World Championships in Yorkshire.
Evenepoel became the youngest Classics winner in cycling’s modern era on Saturday. Next is the European Championships heading towards England in September. He is current junior time trial and road race champion, but the elite title is on his mind.
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“I have faith and the motivation is there,” he explained to Het Nieuwsblad about the European time trial and road race. “The course is not really technical, that plays in my favour. I will do everything I can and see where I end up.
“Yorkshire? Gladly. Normally you can stay in shape for about six weeks, so that will work. I can even improve a few per cent points. I’m aiming for the time trial, but who knows maybe the road title is also possible.”
He won the Clásica San Sebastián riding away solo and leaving behind riders like Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). He had time to celebrate after 227.3km along San Sebastián’s famous promenade.
The Worlds this September ends in Harrogate after 285km. Evenepoel, after winning the junior titles last year, skipped the under 23 ranks and went right to top Belgian team Deceuninck-Quick-Step, but is still getting used to the distances.
“Is it 284 kilometres long? Ahh, that’s an hour more. Well… I’ll think about it,” Evenepoel said of the road race.
“Perhaps it is better to ignore the stress of that road race and to go for it next year. In Martigny, Switzerland, it will be a course like San Sebastián’s next year. I may even be able to go there for the win.”
However, he said that he is “motivated” for both the time trial and road race in Yorkshire. He will train at altitude after the European Championship, race the Tour of Germany and perhaps travel to Canada for the one-day races.
“With that race that I won on Saturday, I have already reached my goal for this season,” Evenepoel said.
“I think everyone is shocked. We should not raise the bar. People can do that, but I am working on my own thing and I will get there step by step.”
Evenepoel finished ahead of Olympic Champion Van Avermaet and Swiss Marc Hirschi (Sunweb), who is 20. He is encouraged even by 22-year-old Egan Bernal (Ineos), who just won the Tour de France.
“It makes you dream that young riders step up and immediately win the Tour de France,” he said. “It is an incentive to go twice as fast and to be on the highest step like him.”