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UTRECHT, Netherlands (VN) – It might not have been a winning beginning, but after Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl finished third in the Vuelta a España stage 1 TTT, their leader Remco Evenepoel called it a “great start”.
“It wasn’t about the red jersey, more about the stage win we wanted for the team. In case we didn’t win, it was about limiting our losses,” the Belgian said after the finish.
“Fourteen seconds is not a whole lot,” he added about their deficit to winners Jumbo-Visma. “With other teams, the damage is a lot bigger.”
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Ineos Grenadiers finished marginally ahead of them.
“It’s good that Jumbo made a 14-second difference. Had Ineos won by eight-tenths of a second, that would have hurt a little bit more,” he said.
The 22-year-old showed his strength, doing protracted turns on the front, sometimes a kilometer in length.
Evenepoel was the team’s first finisher across the line in Utrecht, with Julian Alaphilippe, Ilan Van Wilder, Rémi Cavagna and Fausto Masnada following.
“I can be proud of the boys. We paced really well, with one weaker moment, right after the first intermediate time check. Perhaps we lost a bit too much there.
“But third at fourteen seconds is really good. We don’t have riders here like [Kasper] Asgreen, [Yves] Lampaert, [Matteo] Cattaneo… These guys are better time triallers than the guys who are here, but that was not our goal in this Vuelta,” he said.
With their team selection, they are looking to the mountains and the bigger picture.
Rocking the head sock
He was also wearing the Specialized TT5 helmet, the attention-grabbing head sock helmet.
“That’s for aerodynamics. If you see the individual time trial, you will clearly see that for me this helmet is a lot faster than the normal one.
“But you have to wait a good week for that,” he said, referring to the 31-kilometer race against the clock on stage 10 which will further shake up the GC.
However, there’s a lot of ground to cover before then.
“Now, we focus on the next two days,” Evenepoel said. “We try to get past them without any damage. Then enjoy the rest day [after stage 3] and than the real Vuelta starts.”