Remco Evenepoel cut an extremely frustrated figure at the side of the road with a broken front wheel during stage one of the Benelux Tour 2021.
The situation for the Deceuninck - Quick-Step man was not helped by the fact that the Shimano neutral service car took a very long time over the wheel change, first bringing the wrong wheel and then taking substantial time with the drill on Evenepoel's disc brake wheels.
It was made clear by the 21-year-old after the 169.6km route from Surhuisterveen to Dokkum, that was plagued with strong cross-winds, that he blamed Alpecin-Fenix rider Gianni Vermeersch for cutting across him and breaking his spokes.
After the stage he was filmed shouting in Dutch: "We're just riding normally in the group and you just come diagonally into me. No need to run away, you should realise your mistake."
Evenepoel went from the leading group of riders to the third group on the road which, fortunately for him, made it back to group two and finished under a minute to the leaders with him coming to the line 57 seconds down alongside riders such as Gertaint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Greg Van Avermaet (Ag2r-Citroën).
When things had settled down after the day's racing, Evenepoel Tweeted: "Crazy first stage of the Benelux Tour, and in all the action emotions can run high... Tomorrow's a new day and a time trial! Let's go for it."
Crazy first stage of @beneluxtour, and in all the action emotions can run high… tomorrow’s a new day and a time trial! Let’s go for it 🤟🏼🐺 #TheWolfpack Photo: @gettysport pic.twitter.com/CWP2Diaal0August 30, 2021
All is not lost for Deceuninck - Quick-Step though as the Belgian WorldTour team has their other leader and Tour of Flanders winner, Kasper Asgreen, made it to the front group along with team-mates, Álvaro Hodeg and Stijn Steels.
Evenepoel's chances of overall glory aren't done yet, either, as stage two sees an 11.1km individual time trial. However, with riders like Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) and Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo) both making the front group, it could be difficult to gain time.
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