photo credits @ RCS
Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quickstep) stamped his authority on stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia today, winning the individual time trial with the fastest time of 41:24, beating Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) by a mere second, while Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) covered the 35 kilometer course from Savignano sul Rubicone to Cesena a further second behind.
Remco Evenepoel slunk back into the pink jersey Sunday at the Giro d’Italia in a wet and sloppy time trial that saw him win the stage by just one second ahead of Geraint Thomas, but not deliver the knock-out punch.
“I didn’t pace it very well. I started way too fast, and my second part was bad. After the technical section I found some better legs,” Evenepoel said. “My first part was very good, and in the second part, with the headwind, I wasn’t feeling too well. It’s not the best result.”
After a strong start, Evenepoel lagged a bit on the second half, but found just enough in the reserves to deny Thomas in what would have been his first career Giro stage win.
Evenepoel moves back into the pink jersey, now 45 seconds ahead of Thomas, who moves into second, and 47 seconds to Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). Geoghegan Hart slots into fourth, while João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) wanted more Sunday and settled into fifth at 1:07 back.
“Another stage win is nice, but it was not my best time trial I ever did,” Evenepoel said. “It was a very tight one today. To go into the mountains with that advantage is pretty good. Ineos will have some plans to attack me, but we have a strong team. We have a lot of confidence. Tomorrow I need to recover well. The last two days were not my best.”
All eyes were on Evenepoel and Roglič a day after the Slovenian clawed back time in Saturday’s stage.
Roglič suffered in the first half of the course, but recovered nicely in the second half to limit his losses to Evenepoel to just 17 seconds
With the absence of Filippo Ganna, who left the Giro on Saturday with COVID-19, Stefan Küng was the pre-stage favorite among the specialists. He delivered the best time ahead of the final wave of the GC riders, but it wasn’t fast enough and he stopped the clock four seconds slower in fourth.
A few more GC contenders suffered another blow, with riders like Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) ceding so much time that their podium hopes are all but buried.
In the meantime, Andreas Leknessund’s time in the maglia rosa came to an end as the Team DSM rider came through in 19th place, 1:15 behind Evenepoel, relinquishing the pink jersey over to the Belgian rider.
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