CyclingAfter an eventful journey, Wout van Aert on Tuesday arrived in Quebec, Canada. He’s here to put the finishing touches on his World Cup preparations. In the meantime, he closely follows Remco Evenepoel’s experiences. “He deserves to win the Vuelta.” Tadej Pogacar also has nothing but praise for the current Tour of Spain captain.
The story of Wout van Aert’s overseas trip to Quebec, Canada, deserves to be told. After a week of training and vacation in Sardinia, Van Aert flew to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. He will take a KLM/Air France flight there on Tuesday afternoon at 13:25. But then things went a bit wrong.
“Call it karma,” Wut van Aert said after a day in Quebec. “I thought, I’m going to take a different flight than the others, it will be easier. But we left fifty minutes. And after two hours or so of the flight they said we were going back to Brest. Because of a connection problem, there was no permission to fly across the Atlantic. I think we were running A few laps. After that there was not enough fuel left to get to Quebec. In Brest we stayed on the ground for another hour and a half. Instead of six hours, I spent more than ten hours on the plane.”
The unexpected stop in Brest gave Van Aert the opportunity to see the last thirty kilometers of the seventeenth stage of the Vuelta aray. And the unexpected conclusion to that trip. “Anyway, it was more exciting than the flat sprint stage,” Van Aert laughs. “Of course I backed Primus (Roglic, his teammate, in red). His attack was beautiful and amazing. Nobody expected that. It was a real shame that he fell so hard in the end.”
Roglic’s downfall and subsequent retirement seem to have rolled the red carpet for Remco Evenepoel. Van Aert: “It’s true that Remco has now lost without a doubt his toughest opponent. Primoz is the winner and he has Grand Tour experience. I saw that he got stronger in the Vuelta. I was impressed with the way he raced.”
Was Van Aert surprised by what Evenbúl is doing in this Vuelta ale? “Yes and no. I’ve always believed in his abilities. Defending the shirt is of course a new situation for him, especially when you’ve been wearing the red captain’s shirt like him for so long. He’s strong how he does it. I’m not saying that’s a surprise. But it was still a question mark whether He could.”
Van Aert would not call himself a supporter of Evenepoel now. But he gives him a Vuelta victory. “I am not in the race. And I think the best is to win. I am Belgian. In Belgium we have been waiting a long time for a new Grand Tour winner. Evenepoel is the strongest rider in recent weeks. He deserved to win the Vuelta.”
Pogacar also believes in the victory of Evenepoel
Two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar believes in Remco Evenpoel’s all-out victory in the Vuelta. “I followed the Vuelta as well as I could. Not Tuesday, because I was on board. I missed some other phases because of training. I think it was good entertainment.”
I’d be curious if he’s going to lead the Tour next year. Then it becomes fun. I also hope Egan Bernal returns after his bad accident. It will be a great few years.
“Remco Evenepoel looks so good. I think he can finish this. It is very calm and powerful. Am I surprised? Everyone knows his talent. He can spend the time experimenting, climbing, or choosing the long ride. He had good preparations, I was expecting a Vuelta to be strong from him. It lives up to expectations.”
Tadej Pojakar finished second in the final round, being defeated by Jonas Weinggaard. He believes that on the day Evenepoel decides to ride the Tour, Pogacar will get a competitor. “I would be curious if he leads the Tour next year. Then it gets fun. I also hope Egan Bernal comes back after his bad accident. It will be a great two years.”
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