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Remco Evenepoel rips to latest win at Tour of Norway

A series of big rides in Norway will only stoke speculation whether Evenepoel will be tapped to race the Tour de France.

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Remco Evenepoel dropped rivals Thursday on the decisive Gaustatoppen climb (12km at 8.2 percent) to take control at the Tour of Norway after winning stage 3.

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl star started the day third overall, just one second from first place, and Evenepoel was intent on attacking again in his first stage race since winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

“I was a bit surprised by how the legs reacted, so I continued to push hard to increase my advantage. It was a long effort, but at the end of the day I am delighted with this victory and the gaps in the GC,” Evenepoel said.

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Crosswinds split the bunch early, leaving a select group of about 30 riders. Teammate Kasper Asgreen led Evenepoel to the base of the climb and the Belgian attacked.

“I am happy. It was quite a long day, with headwind in the beginning, then crosswinds which again played a major role, but luckily, I had Kasper with me there, and I want to thank him for his work,” he said. “Then, on the climb, I didn’t know how far we were from the finish when I made my move, but I felt good and just kept going.”

Jay Vine (Alpecin-Fenix) finished second at 27 seconds back, and Luke Plapp (Ineos-Grenadiers) was third at 1:05 back.

Evenepoel already won stage 1, and carries a solid lead into the closing three stages over classics-style terrain that should favor the Belgian.

“Now we’ll try to control the race and see if there will be any other opportunities for us until the end of the week,” he said.

The big rides will only stoke speculation if Evenepoel might be tapped to race the Tour de France.

He is scheduled to race the Tour de Suisse and the Vuelta a España in August.

Evenepoel smiles from the podium. (Photo: Courtesy QSAV)