Christmas Day: for many, a day to relax and be merry, to spend time with loved ones, maybe fit in a leisurely spin or an hour on Zwift if you are that way inclined. Or, in the case of Remco Evenepoel, a day to grind out a 100km ride in the wind and rain of a Belgian winter.
As spotted by Het Nieuwsblad, the recently-crowned world champion posted a big ride to his Strava on Sunday. Heading out before 9am on Christmas morning, Evenepoel tackled 102km and three hours of riding in his native East Flanders.
Though it wasn’t too cold at nine degrees celsius, it was a rainy day in Belgium and Evenepoel was reportedly spotted in full rain gear, braving the elements to get the kilometres in.
It’s weather most would prefer to avoid, but for Evenepoel, it’s all good acclimatisiation for his 2023 goals: “I’ll count this one as a good Giro weather preparation,” the 22-year-old wrote on Strava - alongside some very cold-looking emojis.
The 2023 Giro d’Italia may be more than four months away, but it’s clear the Vuelta winner is wasting no time in his mission to add pink to his collection of jerseys.
And if 100km in the morning wasn’t already enough, how did Evenepoel spend the afternoon? He jumped on the turbo trainer for a 35 minute spin, naturally.
A quick glance at the Strava profiles of the likes of Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel reveals no such Christmas day heroics. Both in the middle of their cyclocross seasons and preparing for a Boxing Day showdown at the Gavere World Cup, Van Aert and Van der Poel both opted for an hour on Zwift.
If the rain forecast for Gavere on Monday is anything to go by, the cyclocross stars can be forgiven for wanting to avoid the wet and cold for one more day.
Perhaps Evenepoel’s fellow world champion Annemiek van Vleuten is the biggest name with the most comparable Christmas effort, braving the equally wet Dutch weather to ride 72km to her family for celebrations.
This level of commitment to the bike, on Christmas day of all days, may seem alien to most, but you don’t become a world champion and multiple-time Grand Tour winner by accident.
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