Evenepoel, the Messi of the bicycle
The Argentine press has already baptized the Belgian for his past in football. The reaches the top of El Colorado will show its conditions on the mountain, at 2,565 meters altitude
The Belgian press roams the hotel Del Bono, in the town of San Juan, at 12 p.m. in Argentina, 4 or 5 in the morning in Europe, while Remco Evenepoel received massage, then had dinner and later spoke with the journalists of his country.
The Belgian phenomenon, for the moment, continues to be a kid who is the only one who betrays him as a cyclist, off the road, the clothing of his team, the Deceuncink.
With the messy hairs and face of a child, its director, the Italian Davide Bramati, leaves him very calm. He is an experienced technician. He has directed Gaviria, Boonen, Alaphilippe, Stybar or Viviani, among others, in a group that has a Polish, Stybar, a French, a Colombian and three Belgians. A multinational that is where world cycling has been heading for a few years at a high level.
It is a group in which everyone works when you have to work. If someone does not do it, they can face a technician who understands everything when he raises his voice.
In Argentina, Evenepoel is much more protected than in his country. His past as a footballer, in the lower divisions of Anderlecht and PS Eindhoven, and the Belgian teams sub 15 and sub 16, along with his conditions as a cyclist have made some Argentine media have given him the name of the bicycle Messi.
One of the most important newspapers in Argentina, of national circulation, La Nación, dedicated an entire page, in which he shared the leading role with Cristian Bassedas, who now trains a football team of the third Argentine division, who was manager of Velez Sarsfiel and that as a player he was the man who supplied Alan Shearer with gold balls, who scored a whopping 260 goals in the Premier.
A whole page in a daily newspaper of that level to a cyclist is not normal. Alaphilippe, who arrived in Colombia yesterday, said of his partner that “he has no limits. Its potential is incredible. He is very young and has plenty of time to reach his roof. I have no doubt that he will get very important things, ”explained the Frenchman.
In the time trial, rather than pedaling, it seemed to destroy the road with the power with which it moves its legs. His pedaling is a martyrdom for asphalt.
It is true that when you arrive in Europe you will find other rivals, but also your fitness will be different.
They try, during their training, not to feel the pressure that already prevents them from going outside in their country, if not with a hat on. If something has been done well over the last few years, Deceuninck is working with young cyclists, thanks to the work done by Joxean Matxin, who is now one of the top leaders of the UAE Emirates, with names such as Enric Mas, Julian Alaphilippe , Fernando Gaviria, Alvaro Hodeg, Fabio Jakobsen or Max Schachmann, among others.
Remco has already been asked about Eddy Merckx, the last winner of his Tour de France country, 43 years ago: «I am a young man who rides a bicycle. I don't want to be better than anyone. Merckx was a great champion, as was Alberto Contador, who was my idol. I hope to one day fulfill my dream of being able to win the Tour, at least one ».
After the first stage he slept nine hours straight. In the fall that occurred in the goal he suffered scratches and his elbow was slightly swollen, but nothing serious. Her masseuse put ice on her and everything was in an anecdote.
The differences he has in the general seem sufficient to him to be able to maintain the first position: «With the seconds that I have on Ganna and Seville, I can go calm to El Colorado. It wouldn't be the same if I only had ten seconds.
He already knows what he will have to ascend on that mountain, «in which he is climbing for three hours, a continuous effort that must come to me well. It is not an explosive arrival. Only when three kilometers remain does the ascent begin. I know her well last year and I am calm ».
He gives many explanations, quickly, in English: «The difference with last year is that then I had to work for Alaphilippe and this year I will go on the defensive. It is a very different way of understanding the race, of running. Besides, I have a strong team ».
Meet Oscar Sevilla last year and know that he is going to attack: «It is his land and he also knows the climb very well. He will not be the only one to attack.
He has demonstrated his level in one-day tests, the San Sebastian Classic, in time trials, such as the European Championship, in a week-long stage race, such as the Tour of Belgium.
The general feeling is that we are facing a phenomenon, but there are still challenges ahead if we talk about the high mountains, the three-week races, the classic paves.
Of course, he has a long time to finish the Messi of cycling.
An important test
Tomorrow, Friday, the test will arrive at the top of El Colorado, a first-class port, with 14.4 kilometers of ascent.
It does not have very pronounced ramps, but the altitude at which it is located, 2,565 meters, and the speed at which the group usually climbs complicate it, along with the heat.
Evenepoel will face his first big test on a selective mountain as a leader. You notice the lack of oxygen on that rise.
The numbers say that in the three previous international editions of the race, those who left there as leaders ended up winning: Bauke Mollema, Oscar Sevilla and Winner Anacona.
Rui Costa has dominated that peak in 2017. In 2018 Gonzalo Najar won, with 1:58 over Óscar Sevilla. The Argentine runner would be disqualified shortly after for doping.
Last year it was Winner Anacona who won. He won ahead of Paredes and Montoya, followed by Carapaz and Sevilla, 32 seconds.
Evenepoel wants to win and we will have to see how he responds to the attacks of Seville and a good number of Colombians waiting for his opportunity.
The eyes of world cycling will be on Evenepoel, which weighs less than a year ago, and with the tests that have been done up to 1,800 meters in Liviano (Italy) you already know how far you can go.
This time it will be 2,565 meters, and that is major words. It will face a new challenge.