‘Why not try to go for a stage win?’- Remco Evenepoel promises a stage victory in the red jersey at the Vuelta a España

‘I’m full of confidence’ says the Belgian as a second day in the high mountains looms

Remco Evenepoel
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) was in a relaxed and confident mood after successfully defending his position as race leader on stage eight of the Vuelta a España.

Jay Vine (Alpecin-Deceuninck) took another impressive victory in the mountains of Asturias but Evenepoel looked firmly in control further back down the road behind the Australian. The young Belgian even looked to gain just a second on Enric Mas (Movistar) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) as he sprinted for the line at the top of the summit finish. 

After warming down, the 22-year-old explained that he is full of self-belief and will look to take a stage win wearing the red jersey in the days to come. 

Evenepoel said: “I’m really happy with what I felt today, I hope I can recover now really well because tomorrow I’ll need super fresh legs again. I know tomorrow is going to be a climb that suits me very well.”

The Belgian looked completely on top as he appeared through the mist on the Colláu Fancuaya. It was notable that on the final climb he lacked support from his teammates, although that didn’t appear to phase him as he insisted that they remain strong and ready for the next phase of the race.  

He added: “I’ll just give my all when tomorrow comes, all the team is behind me and very strong. We’re going to try and keep the jersey again tomorrow and why not try to go for a stage win? That would be really nice.” 

On a difficult day the Belgian explained that the goal for him and the team was simply not losing time. After yesterday's stage he promised to attack if the opportunity presented itself and the young Belgian looked capable of taking more time on both Mas and Roglič in another impressive show of force. 

After Roglič admitted that he "didn't have the legs" as he struggled on stage six, Evenepoel admitted that it was good to see his rival looking strong again on the final summit finish. 

“It was good to see Primož being really strong today. It’s nice to see him like this,” he said. “I think it’s good for the race when it’s like this,” he added. 

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl controlled the front of the main field for the majority of the day however it was all down to Evenepoel once the Colláu Fancuaya arrived. 

He concluded: "I can only be positive about today. The team showed the true strength of the Wolfpack. They were superb for me today right from the start. It wasn’t easy at all but a huge congratulations to all my teammates as they helped push me towards this result.

“When I got to the finish line it was just Primož and Enric in my wheel, so it was a perfect day. For me it's a huge honour to be up against a three-time champion like Roglič and Mas in my eyes, is one of the best Grand Tour riders in the world. 

"I am really proud that all my hard work pays off and I can measure myself with these guys." 

Stage nine on Sunday promises yet more drama in the fight for control of the first week of racing. The route will see the riders tackle five categorised climbs including the finish of Les Praeres Nava. 

One thing remains certain, once the final climb arrives Remco Evenepoel will be ready and waiting to stamp his authority over his rivals as he looks to win his first ever Vuelta a España. 

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