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Expectation for Evenepoel, hope for Bernal at the Vuelta a San Juan – preview

World champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) at a team training camp in January 2023

In 2020, when Remco Evenepoel won the last, pre-pandemic edition of the Vuelta a San Juan, he was presented with an Argentina football jersey bearing the number 10 and was feted in the local newspapers as the ‘Messi of cycling.’ At just 20 years of age, there seemed to be no obvious limit on what the Belgian could achieve.

Three years on, that remains the case. Hyperbole tends to age about as well as milk, but Evenepoel has lived up to the plaudits heaped upon him in January 2020. Like Lionel Messi, he returns to Argentina as a world champion, although, unlike his footballing counterpart, he has yet to build the career-long body of work necessary to see him vie with a revered compatriot for the title of his sport’s ‘GOAT’.

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