Remco Evenepoel doesn't plan on leaving the Giro d'Italia despite dashed GC hopes

The 21-year-old says he would like to make it all the way to Milan in his debut Grand Tour

Remco Evenepoel descending the Passo Giau at the Giro d'Italia 2021
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Remco Evenepoel has said that he does not plan on leaving the Giro d'Italia unless he is physically unable to do so despite losing over 24 minutes to Egan Bernal on stage 16.

Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) said following the mountain stage that he doesn't want to leave the race after his team boss, Patrick Lefevere, said that if he loses even more time then he will be made to go home.

The Belgian slipped from seventh in the overall standings to 19th where he now sits 28-07 behind the pink jersey of Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) who put on a show on the Passo Giau during stage 16 to ride solo to victory.

>>> Giro d'Italia 2021: Romain Bardet 'didn't realise' he finished second behind Egan Bernal

Speaking after the stage, Evenepoel said: "It's not so good that I've lost 20 to 25 minutes. Just an off day, we knew that this could happen, in the end, I've only been training two months towards this Giro, which is not enough to be 100 per cent race-ready.

"But, that's life. There's one more week to go. We did a really good stage with João [Almeida] today, so that's the most important thing. Tomorrow is the rest day, we'll enjoy it together, get some rest and try to make the best of it in the last week.

"We never said I was going to leave. I'm just going to end the Giro, why not?"

His team-mate, Almeida, has now leapfrogged Evenepoel to go 10th overall at 10-01 behind Bernal going into the final week. Almeida put in a very strong performance to hold onto sixth on the stage after being in the break all day. The Portuguese rider was the highest placed of those in the early break at the finish.

After the rest day, the race goes straight back into the mountains to tackle another vicious stage that has two big climbs at the end, including a summit finish on the Sega di Ala after 193km, albeit, around 1000 metres lower down than the Passo Giau from stage 16.

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