Worlds: Belgian Remco Evenepoel triumphs in men’s junior TT

The former soccer player switched to cycling in 2017 and has quickly found success.

A former soccer player rode to victory in Tuesday’s men’s junior time trial at the UCI road worlds in Innsbruck, Austria.

Belgian Remco Evenepoel trounced his competitors on the 27.7-kilometer course, clocking a time of 33:15:24 and averaging nearly 50 kph. Runner-up Lucas Plapp of Australia was 1:23:66 behind, while Italian Andrea Piccolo placed third at 1:37:62 back.

“This was my main goal. I really wanted to win this title,” Evenepoel said. “It’s the most important for me. I also wanted to win for Belgium. It’s emotional to do it for Igor [Decraene], who won this race five years ago and is no longer with us.”

Decraene won the 2013 junior worlds TT title but tragically died nearly a year after his victory when he was hit by a train while riding home from a party.

Evenepoel said he went full-gas starting 10km into Tuesday’s ride, only letting up when he crossed the finish line.

“From km 10 on I rode as hard as possible,” he said. “It’s nice when the hard work pays off.”

Evenepoel was a promising young soccer player and represented Belgian national teams before changing his focus to cycling in 2017. Earlier this year, he won the time trial and road race at the European junior championships.

The elite women’s time trial was also contested in Austria on Tuesday. The worlds will then pick up Wednesday with the elite men’s time trial.

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