Remco Evenepoel is on a roll, and it’s only February.
The 20-year-old barreled to victory Sunday, beating back world time trial champion Rohan Dennis (Ineos) in a closing-day 20km race against the clock to secure the overall title at the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal.
The Deceuninck-Quick-Step star only had to stay ahead of his direct rivals, but that’s not enough for Evenepoel who won stage 2 in blistering fashion. He blasted over the course, knocking back Dennis who beat him in Yorkshire, and won his second stage race in two starts.
“I went full gas today, and by the time I finished I knew the GC was safe, but nobody knew what was the stage result,” Evenepoel said. “It was only when Tom [Steels] told me the result in the radio that I was relieved and could celebrate this win, which was important, as it came against the World ITT Champion and after a hard week of racing, where I went all out on both summit finishes, but also on today’s hard course.”
Evenepoel averaged more than 50kmh and distanced the two riders who rounded out the overall podium by 30 seconds. As the overnight leader, he was last rider to roll down the ramp. He beat both intermediate checkpoints before stopping the clock in 24:07, 10 seconds faster than the benchmark set by the world champion Dennis
The win secured his third GC triumph since turning pro last year, adding Algarve to the Tour of Belgium last year and Vuelta a San Juan last month.
Evenepoel lines up next at Tirreno-Adriatico ahead of the Ardennes classics before his grand tour debut at the Giro d’Italia in May.
Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Miguel Ángel López (Astana) tied at 38 seconds back, and finished second and third overall. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) started second overall but struggled to tumble to 11th overall.
Volta ao Algarve Stage 5, Lagao-Lagao, 20.3km
1. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step), 24:07
2. Rohan Dennis (Ineos), at 0:10
3. Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), at 0:19
4. Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), at 0:38
5. Miguel Ángel López (Astana), at same time
Final overall standings
1. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step), 19:23:42
2. Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), at 0:38
3. Miguel Ángel López (Astana), at 0:39
4. Rui Costa (UAE-Emirates), at 0:56
5. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), at 1:17