Remco Evenepoel will race in the time trial world champion’s jersey for the first time on Tuesday at the Vuelta a España, confident that he is still on track to fight for overall victory.
The 25.8km time trial around Valladolid should allow Evenepoel to pull back significant time on Kuss and perhaps gain more seconds on the true Jumbo-Visma leaders, even if he is aware of Primoz Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard’s prowess against the clock.
“The rainbow jersey will give me extra motivation and hopefully a few extra watts,” Evenepoel said in his rest day press conference on Monday afternoon.
“My goal is to win the time trial and take a second stage win. A time trial is always important in Grand Tours and we’ll see the time gaps after the rides. In principle, the time trial should suit me the best of all classification riders, so it’d be nice if I could take say half a minute.
“That is a high ambition because Ayuso, Vingegaard and Roglič are also in shape. Just look at the time trials in the recent Grand Tours: Jonas Vingegaard won the time trial in the Tour in the yellow jersey and last year I won in the red jersey at the Vuelta in the red jersey.”
More rain in Spain meant that Evenepoel trained indoors during Monday’s rest day. He has done reconnaissance rides of several key stages but not the Valladolid time trial. Yet he knows it will and will have a chance to train on the course on Tuesday morning.
“The first five kilometres are in the city, then there’s a climb of six or seven hundred metres and then a descent,” he explained, no doubt having seen a video of the course to help produce his pace notes.
“It goes up and down on the same road, while the final eight kilometres are on national roads to the finish line. So it’s going to be a fast TT. It needs pacing because it’s a 27-28 effort, but I think there can be some differences.”
Evenepoel sits fourth overall in the general classification, 2:22 down on Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), but he has completed the opening nine days of racing with a seven-second lead on Primož Roglič and 11 seconds on Jonas Vingegaard.
Forming an alliance to take on the Jumbo-Visma triumvirate
The Jumbo-Visma have formed a dangerous triumvirate but Evenepoel appears ready to take them on, convinced that Roglič and Vingegaard will emerge as Jumbo-Visma’s true team leaders.
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