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Remco Evenepoel shows early-season form with Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana stage 1 win

Belgian star opens 2022 racing account with Spanish win.

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Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) put a “W” on his 2022 racing ledger after stage 1 of the 2022 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

Taking on an excess of 2,900m of climbing over the 166.7km route, the young Belgian bettered Russian Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Spaniard Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) by 16 seconds and 31 seconds respectively from a reduced group on the front.

Evenepoel attacked inside of the 5km kite, on a 4.6km climb averaging 6.9 percent grade to take his 23rd professional career win.

Spaniards Enric Mas and Alejandro Valverde of Movistar tried to go with Evenepoel’s move, but it was Rodriguez and Vlasov who were successful in saying in Evenepoel’s wheels, but only for a short time.

How it happened

After 20km of racing, a break separated themselves and got as much as five minutes advantage. The quintet off the front included Benjamin King (Human Powered Health).

Movistar allowed the small group some slack until a steep climb up the Alto de Costur, a 3km-long rise at 8.7 percent. Then, a minute was removed from the breakaway’s advantage.

The next climb, 10km at 3.6 percent incline, further decreased the advantage of the head of the race with 70km remaining.

With 30km remaining, the break had been brought back by the work of the Movistar Team.

Casper Pedersen and Tobias Lund Andresen (Team DSM) took a tumble, and this set the peloton on edge.  Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi) tried to launch off the front.

As the pace quickened, Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) and Marc Soler (Movistar Team) sat up as the distance to the finish was again halved.

On the final 4.6km climb of the stage — the 7.2 percent  Torralba del Pinar — Yves Lampaert escorted Evenpoel to the front of the group.

Bahrain Victorious tried to seize control of the race from the “Wolfpack” on the efforts of Jan Tratnik and Dylan Teuns.

While Antwan Tolhoek (Trek-Segafredo) tried to power away, Evenepoel marked him with slightly more than 4km to go.

Vlasov saw this was the move to cover but could not find the legs to stick with Evenepoel in the final kilometer.

Thursday’s stage 2 is likely to be decided by a bunch sprint after 171km of racing from Bétera to Torrent.

2022 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana stage 1 Results

  1. Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team), 4:16:32
  2. Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe), at :16
  3. Carlos Rodriguez (INEOS Grenadiers), at: 31
  4. Enric Mas (Movistar Team), at :32
  5. Luis León Sánchez (Bahrain Victorious), at s.t.
  6. Antwan Tolhoek (Trek-Segafredo), at s.t.
  7. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), at s.t.
  8. Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-Premier Tech), at s.t.
  9. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), at :42
  10. David De La Cruz (Astana Qazaqstan Team), at :53