"Until they show me the proof, I don't believe it. I think it's more that Remco is afraid to face the truth" - Director of the Slovenian national team has controversial take on Giro d'Italia abandon of Remco Evenepoel

Martin Hvastija, the director of the Slovenian national team is understandably supporting Primoz Roglic at the Giro d'Italia. However, in an unbelievable rant, Hvastija lays into Remco Evenepoel, going so far as to question the truth of his covid diagnosis and blame the Belgian for his crash involving a rogue dog on stage 5.

"This is really strange. I won't judge what is true and what is not, but until they show me the proof, I don't believe it. I think it's more, that Remco is afraid to face the truth," Hvastija sensationally claims in an interview with Slovenian media. "Therefore, I think that the main reason is that he does not have the advantage of three minutes, as he predicted."

Evenepoel's departure from the Giro d'Italia undoubtedly takes a little something away from the race. Prior to his positive covid test however, the Belgian had previously seemed at risk of abandoning after a crash involving a rogue dog on stage 5. Hvastija believes Evenepoel was to blame though, not the dog,

"The two falls around Naples did not have the impact they could have had. Fortunately, he rode away without serious injuries, but there was little ambiguity regarding statements about how bad it really was," he remarks. "It was his own fault for both falls, the first time he was on the ground because of the dog, but it did not run into him. The second fall was entirely his fault, so he doesn't have much of an excuse."

With Geraint Thomas the new Maglia Rosa, Hvastija is concerned about Roglic's chances of victory in the face of the impressive INEOS Grenadiers team. On the individual time-trial on stage 9 won by Evenepoel, Thomas missed out on the stage victory by just a single second and Hvastija is full of praise towards the Welshman who now seemingly poses the biggest threat to Roglic.

"I feel bad for Thomas that he didn't win the stage. So little and at the same time so far, I really like him. Thomas was third last year on the Champs Elysées, he was not far from Vingegaard and Pogačar. He himself says that he is ending his career, but is still extremely fit," he explains. "He is also the first man of this team in terms of experience and references. He has four teammates behind him, so he has the luxury of attacking with any rider. We will see everything in the mountain stages. First, we have three gruelling days ahead of us. I expect Ineos to control them, and then we'll see."

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