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Giro d'Italia

Remco Evenepoel crushes Teide record ahead of Giro d’Italia tuneup race

Belgian star shaves off two minutes on Strava record ahead of final stage race test before Liège-Bastogne-Liège and run at pink jersey.

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How good is Remco Evenepoel going after a month-long altitude camp on Spain’s Tenerife?

Pretty fast.

The Belgian superstar smashed a long-standing Strava record on the steep side of the Teide volcano where half the peloton trains and sleeps during key training windows.

The reigning world champion posted a time of 56:25 on the segment from Chio to Teide on Monday on the upper flanks of the sometimes-smoldering volcano.

Evenepoel bettered the previous best time of 58:21 held by Jonas Hjorth, a young Norwegian who trained with the Bahrain Victorious development squad. Other top names filling out the top-10 are a who’s who of the WorldTour, including Chris Froome, who held a long-running best time of 59:20.

The big ride comes ahead of a return to competition at next week’s Volta a Catalunya in what will be his final stage race before the Giro d’Italia in May.

The Soudal Quick-Step star returns to competition at the seven-stage Catalunya tour (March 20-26) for the first time since winning the UAE Tour in February and finishing seventh in his debut at the Tour de San Juan in January.

Evenepoel is coming off an altitude camp and will be using the race to chase results and hone his form for his brief spring classics calendar that includes a title defense at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

“We have a solid, experienced, and very confident team for what we hope will be a good test to find out where the guys are at the moment following their recent altitude training camp,” said sports director Klaas Lodewyck.

“The main goal is to get a stage victory there and fight for a good general classification. We hope to be in the thick of the action every time it matters, to have a strong outing and show the ‘Wolfpack’ spirit and mentality.”

Evenepoel will be supported by Mattia Cattaneo, Jan Hirt, and Fausto Masnada, as well as fellow countrymen Pieter Serry, Ilan Van Wilder, and Louis Vervaeke.

Several of those riders are expected to join Evenepoel in his high-profile return to the Giro in May.

The 102nd edition of the Spanish race features three summit finishes that will decide the overall and give a fresh glimpse of Evenepoel’s condition before Liège and the Giro.

Summit finales at Vallter, La Molina, and Mirador del Portell will provide telling clues on Evenepoel’s approach to the Giro.

As Belgium’s first grand tour winner in four decades following his victory at the Vuelta a España, the reigning world champion will have pressure to produce results at Catalunya.

The dramatic return of Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), the recent winner at Tirreno-Adriatico, will mean Evenepoel will see one more top GC rival for the Giro in what’s already a very crowded contender’s field for the Italian grand tour.

Other top challengers at Catalunya include Roglič, Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates), Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost), and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers).

Volta a Catalunya (March 20-26)

Stage 1 Sant Feliu de Guíxols-Sant Feliu de Guíxols, 164.6 km
Stage 2 Mataró to Vallter, 165.4 km
Stage 3 Olost  to La Molina (Alp), 180.6 km
Stage 4 Llívia to Sabadell, 188.2 km
Stage 5 Terres de l’Ebre to Terres de l’Ebre, 178.6 km
Stage 6 Martorell to Molins de Rei, 177.0 km
Stage 7 Barcelona-Barcelona, 142.0 km

Evenepoel returns to racing following an altitude camp on Teide. (Photo by Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)