[Remco Evenepoel hopes speculation around his future ‘calms down’ after taking World Championships time trial gold medal
After Remco Evenepoel stormed to a rainbow jersey and gold medal in the men’s elite individual time trial at the World Championships, he said that he hoped that the speculation around his future with the Soudal Quick-Step team would begin to calm down ahead of the Vuelta a España.
Evenepoel has been heavily linked with a move away from the team managed by Patrick Lefevere, with Ineos Grenadiers rumoured to be a possible destination for the 23-year-old who has a contract with Quick-Step until the end of 2026.
Israel-Premier Tech have also been linked with the Belgian’s signature in recent weeks.
However, speaking to the media after powering to victory in Stirling, Evenepoel said that he hoped the noise around his future would die down ahead of the fast approaching Spanish Grand Tour.
“I hope it calms down because of course the Vuelta is a three week race,” Evenepoel said. “If I have to hear the same s**t every day again for three weeks it’s going to be a long Vuelta… I hope it will calm a bit down as like I said before, I’m the type of guy who is quite emotional and likes to answer with the pedals, so I think today was a good answer again and I hope I can answer again in the Vuelta but of course, it’s a super strong field.
“I will need to be focused from the first day to the last.”
After Filippo Ganna of Italy had nudged Britain’s Josh Tarling out of the time trial hot seat, it appeared that the Italian had the time trial world title sewn up in Stirling.
Evenepoel then arrived at the base of the final ramp to Stirling castle and sailed up the steep climb to finish 12 seconds ahead of Ganna and land the rainbow jersey in the process. The Belgian explained to the media that he believes nothing is off limits in terms of future goals and targets now that he has a second elite world title to his name.
“This was one of my biggest goals for my career and for this season,” he said. “That’s another achievement unlocked. I think the next big goals must be the Grand Tours, the one week road races and try to win everything. But that’s not easy at all with a super strong field of riders on every terrain.
“We’ll see where we are and what the goals will be but I want to do all that’s possible.”
Evenepoel explained that the planning and timing of his efforts had been almost perfect and that he had tried to not go too deep too soon. The 23-year-old said that with the tough cobbled climb to the finish, it was important to hold enough back ready for a final push to the line.
“Well, my strategy was to push a lot from the moment that we completely turned back to the third intermediate time check,” he explained. “Then I wanted to push a bit less to the bottom of the climb. So I know I probably lost a few seconds on Pippo [Filippo Ganna] there because it was a downhill part and with my weight, you know, you have to keep pushing, actually, to keep the speed up.
“So I think I lost maybe a bit of time on the, let’s say, from four kilometres to one kilometre to go. But then I think I did a very good climb, very hard pace, from the bottom to the top… I think the pacing strategy was just perfect and it also shows up in the results.”