World Championships course ‘too explosive’ for Remco Evenepoel

Belgian hands over the rainbow jersey to Mathieu van der Poel after a tense and chaotic battle in the streets of Glasgow

Remco Evenepoel
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Remco Evenepoel was matter of fact in his assessment of the course for the elite men’s road race at the World Championships and explained that it was always going to be a tough ask to retain his world title on the streets of Glasgow.

Before the race, much of the talk in the build up focused on the technicalities of the Glasgow city centre circuit which featured a series of sharp sweeping bends and short, punchy climbs like the 200 metre ramp Montrose street.

Speaking to the media, including Cycling Weekly, post-race in Glasgow, Evenepoel explained that once the rain started to fall the course became even more treacherous.

“It was long, wet and cold out there in the end,” Evenepoel said. “It was a very hard course. Personally, for me a bit too technical and a bit too explosive. So not really a course that was in my favour but if you see the podium I think it has been an amazing race.”

Mathieu Van der Poel took a scintillating victory in the wet conditions which Evenepoel later described as "beautiful".

The Belgian - who won the road world title last year in Wollongong - finished 25th.

Ecuadorian rider Jhonatan Narváez was one of the riders to come unstuck in the race and came down as the pace ramped up. Evenepoel told the media that the Ecuadorian's crash had meant it was difficult to get back on terms with the leading riders once the front group was split in two.

“Yeah, of course [the rain made it harder] but I think the front group split because Narváez crashed,” he explained. “I was behind the crash and yeah, we never closed the gap anymore on the four riders that were in front, so it was a crash that divided the group in two pieces but yeah, that's how it goes and it's a shame.

“I think Mathieu [Van der Poel] was a very beautiful winner, even though we wanted Wout [Van Aert] to win, of course.”

Coming into the race, Belgium were arguably the outright favourites for victory due to the huge strength in depth within their squad. Once the main field had broken up they were only left with Evenepoel and Van Aert still in contention.

Despite missing out on the top step of the podium, Evenepoel praised his teammates - including silver medallist Wout van Aert - and said that Van der Poel’s performance in the finale demonstrated that he was a worthy winner.

“Of course [we did our best], I mean, a group of 20 Guys, and we were in there with five,” he said. “I think that's pretty amazing. We just did our best and we tried to take control of the race as long as possible, but on a course like this. It's not easy at all. So yeah, it would have been better if we were with two or three guys in the front group but Wout was there and he rode his race.

“We tried to control the attacks from behind for a few times, which made the gap grow quite quickly but yeah, I think we did our best and I wouldn't say that second was the highest place possible for Wout but of course, if you see Mathieu going off crashing and then going off after again is pretty amazing. So I think he deserves it.”

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Tom joined Cycling Weekly in early 2022 and his news stories, rider interviews and features appear both online and in the magazine. 

He has reported from some of professional cycling's biggest races and events including the Tour de France and the recent Glasgow World Championships. He has also covered races elsewhere across the world and interviewed some of the sport's top riders. 

When not writing news scoops from the WorldTour, or covering stories from elsewhere in the domestic professional scene, he reports on goings on at bike shops up and down the UK, where he is based when not out on the road at races. He has also appeared on the Radio Cycling podcast.