Remco Evenepoel had a storming season until today, but a win at the World Championships has came to culminate an unprecedented season for the Belgian, who stormed to a dominating win in Wollongong with his very best form.
“I can't compare this with my junior world title. This is three hours longer and the course was much tougher. The race was long and it was also a super long season. It's great to close that way. I'm glad I had the legs today," Evenepoel said after the finish. He was one of the favourites for the race today at the start, and although the sprinters survived the Wollongong circuit, Evenepoel won in a way that he is used to with a long-distance solo attack.
Evenepoel responded to a move with around 60 kilometers to go that split the peloton, and found himself in a large group that escaped the clutches of the unorganized peloton. As he usually does, he did not attack in the climb where everyone would be ready, but instead surprised with an attack in a flat section with 33 kilometers to go, together with Alexey Lutsenko. “We were two men ahead and I felt that I was stronger than Lutsenko. But I just wanted to move on," he said.
Soon after he dropped the Kazakh and began his solo journey to the rainbow jersey. "There was no time to waste on this trail. In the final lap I notice that Mount Pleasant was super heavy, I felt my legs really explode there. But I knew it was almost done, because after the descent it was only five kilometers to the finish."
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With the gap expanding to the chasing group, his victory was assured as long as he stayed on the bike. Having had a group without most of the big favourites around him, the gap that was built early on in the attack was uncloseable, and the survivors of the peloton were left to fight for the rest of the medals. “My lead just kept getting bigger. I kept going, because it's the World Championship after all. You don't want to take any chances and just win that jersey," he said.
“We really raced as a team. We already said in advance: it doesn't matter how, but we wanted to win this World Championship as a team. It was Wout van Aert or me. I had to start early, and he would follow and wait for his sprint. And this time the early attack made it. We deserved this," he stated.
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After winning the Vuelta a Espana in impressive fashion, the Clasica San Sebastian and Liège-Bastogne-Liège - amongst other wins - 2022 has proved to be a golden year for the Belgian, who has been without a doubt one of the most successful riders of the season. “This is a dream. It is unbelievable," he stated.
"It's a shame that next year's World Cup is already in August, so it will be one of the shortest years as a world champion. But I've dreamed about this for a long time. And now, after a monument, a classic and a Grand Tour, I also win the World Championships. I won't have a season like this very often. We are definitely going to celebrate big. I don't think I'm going to see my bed," he concluded.