Belgian Remco Evenepoel (Soudal), winner of the mountain jersey and three stages, was somewhat disappointed that he did not reach fourth place in Guadarrama, surpassed by Wout Poels, but noted that in this edition of the Vuelta he had “all but one “super good” was the day”.
“Poels surprised me and the group when he came out just before that corner. That was a very smart move. I thought the gate was up, but it went down slightly. In this way, Wout was able to maintain his speed. If the target is 10 meters further away he would have won. But this is a race. You have to win at the finish,” he said.
Evenepoel admitted he was surprised that the application he uses to explore the streets gave him incorrect information in this case.
For the Belgian champion, Poels successfully implemented his strategy and attacked instead of following his wheel.
“If Poels had decided to follow my bike, I would have won. But a sprint is also tactical and he deserves the win. He was one of the strongest men on the climb and I had to survive and keep pushing. I reacted for two or three seconds.” “But we have nothing to blame the team for. We had a perfect race. There’s no shame in losing in the end,” he said.
The world time trial champion assessed his performance at the Vuelta positively, with the exception of a bad day in the Tourmalet, but appreciated his good physical level over the past week.
“I reached a great level except for one bad day. When I look at my level last week… That’s also what we aimed for with our preparation, to be good last week,” he explained.
The King of the Mountains opened up about his mistakes in preparing for the Vuelta this season.
“The trips to the stages and the training at altitude… I was hardly at home. Last year was completely different. It was much more relaxed. Now it’s more chaotic,” he emphasized.
The Belgian champion has taken note of the preparation of the Jumbo Visma drivers.
“They had a very extensive preparation plan. They competed almost in races and trained meticulously. We have to learn from this. Although only one day was disappointing for me, the rest was super good,” he concluded.