Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) opened his 2024 season with a trademark long-distance solo triumph, going it alone 53km from the finish of the Figueira Champions Classic.
The Belgian, who took on the second edition of the one-day race ahead of next week’s Volta ao Algarve, was ‘led out’ by several of his QuickStep teammates before jumping clear of the peloton with four major climbs left to run during the closing three laps of the 192.4km race.
UAE Team Emirates attempted to chase down the former world champion, first with Marc Hirschi, then with a sustained solo ride by Isaac Del Toro, and then with their team at the head of the peloton, but Evenepoel – as he has so often in the past – proved to be uncatchable.
As Del Toro dropped back to the peloton 27km from the line, Evenepoel enjoyed a lead of over a minute, and he’d remained untroubled on the run to the finish to cross the line for the 51st victory of his career.
Behind him, tentative moves were made in the peloton as the group raced over the final short and sharp climb of the Enforca Cães and into the flat run to the line. However, it was a reduced chase group which came to the line.
Alpecin-Deceuninck led the group to the finish with a mini lead-out train, but it was Vito Braet (Intermarché-Wanty) who came out on top in the sprint for the line jumping off Astana Qazaqstan lead-out Cristian Scaroni’s wheel to pip fellow Astana man Simone Velasco.
The Belgian led home the group at 1:48 down on Evenepoel, while Velasco grabbed third ahead of Lars Boven (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Marius Mayrhofer (Tudor Pro Cycling).
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