For Remco Evenepoel, positioning gave the impression to be simply as massive a consideration in the beginning of stage 13 of the Vuelta a España because it was within the closing kilometres.
Shortly earlier than the peloton set out from Ronda, UAE Workforce Emirates introduced that Juan Ayuso had examined constructive for COVID-19, however his low viral load meant he might stay within the race as he was deemed to not be contagious.
The leaders of the Vuelta classifications ordinarily line up alongside each other on the head of the sector, however on Friday, Evenepoel felt it will be sage to keep up a sure distance from the person at the moment sporting the white jersey on his behalf.
“I’m going to remain far-off from him in the beginning,” Evenepoel mentioned within the combined zone. “I believe it’s dangerous. There’s a good likelihood that he’ll nonetheless hand over as a result of corona slowly builds up within the physique.
“It is less than me to say something about it. It is good for him that he feels higher. However I might advise him to think twice about it, as he could possibly be severely in poor health inside just a few days. That is the way it went for my teammate Pieter Serry.”
Evenepoel briefly revisited the subject after reaching the end in Montilla safely in the primary physique of the peloton, noting that it was “a bit weird” that riders have been selecting to proceed within the Vuelta regardless of testing constructive for COVID-19.
As anticipated, stage 13 concluded in a bunch dash, with Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) rising victorious on the uphill finale in Montilla. Evenepoel was safely tucked close to the pinnacle of the peloton on the run-in earlier than drifting again, although Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) – second general at 2:41 – briefly seemed to be contemplating a crack on the dash.
“I don’t know what he did. Possibly he wished to make a niche or win the stage, I truly didn’t see what occurred in entrance of me,” mentioned Evenepoel. “I simply wished to enter the final kilometre in a very good place, and I managed to do nicely. The staff dropped me off with 3k to go after which I used to be on the lookout for my very own place. It was truly one thing I discovered from main out Fabio [Jakobsen] in the beginning of the season. It was fairly simple to search out my manner within the bunch.”
Every part has appeared to return simply to Evenepoel thus far on the Vuelta, although he had endured a brace of setbacks over the earlier two levels. After dropping QuickStep-AlphaVinyl teammate Julian Alaphilippe to a crash on Wednesday, Evenepoel was himself a faller on stage 12. He shook off that incident to steer the GC contenders house on the end atop Peñas Blancas, and he reported few lingering results following Friday’s stage.
“It could possibly be a bit higher, nevertheless it was advantageous, not a giant downside,” mentioned Evenepoel, who made a uncommon outing in gloves on the highway to Montilla following his crash. “I believe tomorrow I cannot put on them once more. They have been annoying me fairly a bit through the stage.”
The Vuelta’s third weekend brings one other doubleheader of mountaintop finishes, with Saturday’s finale atop La Pandera adopted by the haul to Sierra Nevada on stage 15. Evenepoel has dealt comfortably with the summit finishes of the Vuelta thus far, distancing his rivals at Pico Jano and Les Praeres, and controlling from the entrance at Colláu Fancuaya and Peñas Blancas. On the proof so far, the maillot rojo will likely be closely favoured to keep up his benefit by the point the Vuelta pauses for its third and remaining relaxation day on Monday.
“The climbs aren’t the toughest, particularly on Saturday. Ten kilometres at 5%, then eight kilometres at 5%, or one thing like that. The hazard is extra the size of the climbs, in addition to the warmth and the fatigue. These are the issues that can determine the end result,” mentioned Evenepoel.
“I really feel good, and the staff may be very motivated. We all know it will already be quite a bit if we get by this weekend with the identical benefit on our rivals as we have now now. We’ll strive to not lose time and, if it’s potential, to achieve slightly extra. However it’s not essential. It’s a bit like Thursday. In the event that they assault me and I can management the final 2km, that’s good.”