February 1, 2023

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Evenpol defends his title in San Juan as world champion: “But also take part in the sprint train” | San Juan tour

Remco Evenpoel He has really built up a beautiful history in San Juan in a short time. In 2019 he drove his first professional race – he immediately reached the top ten in the final classification – and a year later he was crowned overall winner.

He will now defend this title after a break due to Corona. “The main goal is to win as many stages as possible with Fabio (Jacobsen). I will also contribute to that, because I will catch the sprint train and guide it to victories.”

However, Evenb├╝hl would deny his own personality if he also did not have personal ambitions. “There’s really only one ending where you can make a difference in the rankings.”

In the previous edition, Evenpoel was “only” fifth on the Alto Colorado, having missed driving earlier in the stage. “The wind always blows in the side just before this climb. I’ve been caught up there once, hopefully never again.”

Evenepoel also wants to compete for Alto Colorado with South American climbers, “who I’ve heard are already flying around.”

“Higuita, Martinez, Bernal, Lopez….they’ve all been motivated here in the beginning and they’re also used to the conditions. It’s a strong field for the players.”

On dangerous roads: “We must adapt to South America, not the other way around”

Racing in South America, this also means always keeping an eye out for dangerous situations that can pop up here and there. Evenepoel’s season doesn’t stand or fall with the overall victory at the San Juan round, but a fall or other disaster could throw a hole in the works.

“I think we as Europeans should adapt to the South American way of racing and not the other way around,” says Evenpoel.

“Of course a road has to be rebuilt here and there. You can’t run on a road a meter deep with potholes. But it’s not much different from Flemish concrete roads.”

World champion among world champions: “Sometimes I think again: I could have been there”

Compared to three years ago, Evenepoel’s star has grown tremendously. In his rainbow jersey, he was by no means an anonymous wanderer around Argentina.

“Three years ago, you called me a ‘cycling Messi’ here. Maybe that was a bit exaggerated. Until now. But you notice they have a lot of respect for the champions here. Everyone wants to take a picture with me, asks for autographs, wishes of luck or congratulations.”

Evenepoel in Argentina, which is also the world champion in the land of world champions (soccer). Both his passions came together when he was honored at a Boca Juniors match.

“Sometimes I think: I could have been there too. I’d still like to play a match like that in such a stadium for a good reason or something. But I don’t feel bad about my choice. I can’t complain about where I am in cycling.”

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