Evenepoel increases Vuelta lead with time-trial victory

ALICANTE, Spain (AP) — Remco Evenepoel came into the Spanish Vuelta with the goal of winning a stage.

He accomplished that in style on Tuesday and now also sees himself in position to take the general classification title as well.

The Belgian rider from team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl pulled off an impressive time-trial victory in the 10th stage in Alicante, increasing his overall lead.

“It’s super nice to win this time trial in the red jersey,” the 22-year-old Evenepoel said. “It’s an amazing feeling. I think I achieved my dream.”

Evenepoel was 48 seconds faster than second-place Primoz Roglic, taking his general classification lead over the three-time defending champion to 2 minutes, 41 seconds with 11 stages left.

“That’s a big surprise,” Evenepoel said when told of his gap to his rival from team Jumbo-Visma. “Now we’re going to fight and we’re going to try to win this Vuelta. The pressure is off. I won a stage. Now the whole team is super confident. Everybody is performing so well. Now we just have to fight to keep this jersey and take it home.”

Evenepoel is the first rider to beat Roglic in an individual time trial in the Vuelta. He is also the first Belgian to win an individual time trial in the Vuelta since Fons De Wolf in Valladolid in 1979.

Enric Mas, the Spaniard from team Movistar, dropped from second to third in the general classification, sitting more than three minutes off the lead. Fellow Spaniard Carlos Rodriguez was nearly four minutes behind Evenepoel in fourth place.

Riders will face a flat 11th stage that will favor the sprinters on Wednesday.

Nearly two dozen riders had to withdraw from the race because of positive coronavirus tests, including Sam Bennett, a two-time stage winner this year.

Monday’s rest day came in handy for Astana rider Alexey Lutsenko, who took advantage of the time off to be with his wife for the birth of his son.


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