“At first I wanted to guide Remco..." - Louis Vervaeke sprints to surprise 3rd on stage 2 of Itzulia Basque Country

Not renowned for his sprinting capabilities, it was somewhat of a surprise to see Louis Vervaeke in the mix for victory on stage 2 of the 2024 Itzulia Basque Country, eventually coming home 3rd from a reduced bunch.

“I'm not a sprinter, but there were not many sprinters left in position,” the 30-year-old reflected honestly in a post-stage conversation with Het Nieuwsblad. “At first I wanted to guide Remco Evenepoel safely through the final kilometres, but suddenly they started ahead of me and I was on the right wheel.”

In the end, it was Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team's Paul Lapeira who took the win with Samuele Battistella second and Vervaeke a close third. Despite the surprise nature of his result, coming so close leaves the Belgian with a note of optimism after a tough opening to the season.

“It's a bit like a thief. I just didn't have the legs to compete for the win.” the Soudal - Quick-Step man concludes. “I was disappointed with my start to the season, but I worked hard on my fitness. I feel that it is growing enormously.”

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