Remco Evenepoel attacked 45km out from the finish of Clásica San Sebastián to comprehensively win the race for a second time on Saturday.
The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider showed that he is in sparkling form ahead of the Vuelta a España, out-climbing both Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) with a measured and controlled performance, before soloing away to victory.
Evenepoel missed the Tour de France, but after a long training camp in Italy, admitted that a second victory at the ‘Klasikoa’ was ideal preparation for his next targets.
He said: “What came out of my legs today was just freshness. I felt really good, then decided to speed it up on the Jaizkibel, which was the plan from before. Yeah, it worked out.
"When you make it a hard race from Jaizkibel on this course, it’s a long and hard final… there was a headwind, but I managed to keep my power quite high and I tried to be as aero as possible and just went all out. It’s amazing.”
Previously, the Belgian won the one-day race in Spain in 2019 aged just 19-years-old. Taking a second victory in Saint Sebastian added to what’s already been an impressive year for the 22-year-old. It means he is the youngest rider to win the race multiple times.
The Belgian won Liège–Bastogne–Liège in April this year, and after outmanoeuvring climbers of the calibre of Yates this afternoon, will be confident ahead of the Vuelta a España.
Evenepoel added: “I’m really happy with this victory. It’s been a long training camp before, and I was really excited to start here and then finish all the work of the boys, it’s just amazing… It's a team victory and what a season so far.”
On the final climb of the day, the Belgian climbed through a sea of screaming Basque fans, and was clearly given a huge boost by the spectators as he cut through the crowds.
When asked about the input of the fans, he said: “They’re amazing, this is one of my favourite areas to race with the Basque fans. This race, together with Liège, is my favourite race. To win both in one season, it’s amazing.”
Looking ahead to upcoming races, the 22-year-old Quick-Step rider concluded: “Yes, I’ll go to the Vuelta. This is the perfect race in between my training camps, and to win is even more amazing so I think I can go with a really good feeling towards la Vuelta, and with a lot of confidence and relaxed feelings. It’s so amazing to win again here.”
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