Remco Evenepoel’s solo victory in Druivenkoers Overijse was interrupted when a car burst into flames on the course of the Belgian one-day race.
Deceuninck - Quick-Step rider Evenepoel had launched a characteristic solo move in the closing kilometres of the 192km cobbled race on Thursday (August 26), which took on a handful of climbs that will feature in the 2021 World Championships, Evenepoel pulling out almost a minute with around 40km still to race.
But his rhythm was upset inside the final 35km, as the race was brought to a halt when a car caught fire ahead of the riders.
The race was neutralised for around 15 minutes to allow emergency services to attend the incident, as Evenepoel waited patiently at the side of the road, putting on his jacket to stay warm.
After the delay, the peloton were eventually allowed to pass the burning vehicle, at which point Evenepoel was allowed to resume his position as the sole leader of the race with 25km to go.
The race organisers gave Evenepoel a 35-second head-start over his rivals as the event continued.
Despite the interruption, Evenepoel didn’t lose focus and rode to solo victory, finishing ahead of his team-mate Mikkel Honoré in second, with Aimé de Gendt (Intermarché-Gobert-Matériaux) rounding out the podium.
It’s a promising sign for Evenepoel, who is among the favourites for the 2021 World Championships in Leuven, Flanders in late September.
Druivenkoers Overijse 2021 was raced over 192km, starting and finishing in the Flemish town of Overijse, featuring 20 punchy categorised climbs, including the Moskesstraat, the Taymansstraat, and the Bekestraat, all of which will feature in the elite men's road race at the World Championships.
The men's race at the 2021 Worlds, scheduled for the final day of racing on September 26, will be raced over 268km from Antwerp to Leuven in Flanders, featuring 2,500 metres of climbing.
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