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Newly confident Remco Evenepoel carries lessons from Il Lombardia crash

Belgian star on mission to follow Tour de France toppers on 'Pantani climb' at Tirreno-Adriatico.

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CARPEGNA, Italy (VN) — Remco Evenepoel faces his steepest GC test Saturday since turning pro when he faces off against at Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard on the famed Carpegna steeps in the decisive stage 6 at Tirreno-Adriatico.

The trio are stacked at the top of the leader board going into Saturday’s decisive climbing stage that will all but decide the final podium.

“We all know that the two best climbers of last year’s Tour de France are here,” Evenepoel said at the start. “I think my only goal and job is to follow them.”

Also read: Remco Evenepoel peeved at wrong turn

Evenepoel was smiling about Friday’s incident, where he led all three of the top GC contenders accidentally off-course when they missed a key right-hander late in the stage.

The leading trio regained contact with the bunch and head into Saturday’s steep finale with everything on the line.

“I was speaking with Tadej and Jonas, and they didn’t know how the corner was,” Evenepoel said. “We were just going full-gas, attacking, and we just didn’t know. We knew it was to the right, we just didn’t know when.

“When there is not a clear sign or arrow, we really surprised it was so fast. I rewatched the images and the moment I came over, I came to the right, there was no way I could take the turn,” he said. “I am happy we could finish all together and we did not lose any time.”

Lessons learned from Il Lombardia crash

Evenepoel says he’s taken lessons out of his 2020 crash at Il Lombardia. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Evenepoel said a decisive part of Saturday’s stage will be the descents off two passages of Monte Carpegna late in Saturday’s stage.

Evenepoel was asked about his 2020 crash at Il Lombardia, when he misread a corner and crashed heavily into a ravine. After suffering serious injuries, Evenepoel’s been able to return to the highest level.

The Belgian star said he’s worked on his descending skills since then.

“We train on it a lot, and we have a lot of good descenders on the team,” Evenepoel said. “Every tip and trick I take from them and I learn. It’s all about the confidence as well, and I changed quite a lot last winter in my mind and my body language.

“I am more relaxed in the bunch and I have more trust in the guys in front of me, and I can handle stress situations better.”

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