Remco Evenepoel won the elite men's individual time trial at the UEC European Championships in Alkmaar, the Netherlands, on Thursday. The 19-year-old Belgian sat in the hot seat overcome with emotions after securing the victory in 24:55 to beat Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) by 18 seconds and Edoardo Affini (Italy) by an additional two seconds.
Evenepoel dedicated the victory to his compatriots Bjorg Lambrecht, who died following a crash at the Tour de Pologne on Monday, and Stef Loos, who was killed in a collision with a van during a race in March.
"I talked to everyone in the Belgian cycling team and told them I'm taking the start today for some stars in the sky, I did it so, this is not my victory," Evenepoel said in a post-race interview. "This is a victory for Bjorg and Stef, and my teammates."
Evenepoel raced in the junior ranks last year, winning the individual time trial at the European Championships. He went on to win the junior world titles in the time trial and the road race at the Innsbruck World Championships.
As one of the most promising up-and-coming talents, Evenepoel signed a contract to compete on the WorldTour with Deceuninck-QuickStep this season.
His victory in the elite men's time trial in Alkmaar can be added to a series of achievements this year that includes an overall victory at the Baloise Belgium Tour, a stage win at Adriatica Ionica Race and his most recent victory at the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian.
"This is incredible," Evenepoel said of his time trial victory. "Last week San Sebastian and now this, I can't believe it."
The elite men raced along a 22km course on the same route used for the mixed relay team time trials on Wednesday. The flat out-and-back loop that started and finished in Alkmaar. Evenepoel was up against some of the more seasoned time triallists, including his compatriot Yves Lampaert, along with Great Britain's Alex Dowsett and the Netherland's Jos van Emden.
It was the younger talents on the start list, however, that contested for the medal positions, with Evenepoel being the youngest at just 19, while Asgreen is 24 and Affini is 23 years old.
All three riders started the time trial early, and Affini set the benchmark time of 15:16. He wasn't in the hot seat for long before his minute-man, Asgreen, came through the finish line two seconds faster.
Evenepoel, who was the 13th rider off and started his time trial three minutes after Asgreen, stormed across the line with the fastest time of the day. He was the only rider to finish under 25 minutes, with a winning time of 24:55.
Evenepoel's next major challenge will likely be at the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire. He is still eligible to compete as an under-23, but he has not yet confirmed what category he will compete in. He could be selected to race with Belgium's elite men's team.
"I don't know what the future will bring," he said when asked what his immediate future holds in pro cycling. "I'm going to enjoy the moment, and as I said, this one is for some guys in the sky."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Remco Evenepoel (Bel)||0:24:55|
|2||Kasper Asgreen (Den)||0:00:18|
|3||Edoardo Affini (Ita)||0:00:21|
|4||Stefan Küng (Swi)|
|5||Alex Dowsett (GBr)|
|6||Filippo Ganna (Ita)||0:00:22|
|7||Yves Lampaert (Bel)||0:00:28|
|8||Jos Van Emden (Ned)||0:00:31|
|9||Martin Toft Madsen (Den)||0:00:39|
|10||Sebastian Langeveld (Ned)||0:00:58|
|11||Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol)||0:01:02|
|12||Claudio Imhof (Swi)||0:01:04|
|13||Yoann Paillot (Fra)|
|14||Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe)||0:01:07|
|15||Jan Bárta (Cze)||0:01:14|
|16||Matthias Brändle (Aut)||0:01:15|
|17||Jasha Sütterlin (Ger)||0:01:28|
|18||Wojciech Ziolkowski (Pol)||0:01:36|
|19||Edward Dunbar (Irl)||0:01:40|
|20||Corentin Ermenault (Fra)||0:01:41|
|21||Marco Mathis (Ger)||0:01:51|
|22||Anton Vorobyev (Rus)||0:02:00|
|23||Johannes Hirschbichler (Aut)||0:02:05|
|24||Michal Schlegel (Cze)||0:02:09|
|25||Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu)||0:02:12|
|26||Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu)||0:02:14|
|27||Oleksandr Holovash (Ukr)||0:02:17|
|28||Tom Wirtgen (Lux)||0:02:24|
|29||Vladislav Kulikov (Rus)||0:02:25|
|30||Jan Andrej Cully (Svk)||0:02:33|
|31||Andriy Vasylyuk (Ukr)||0:02:34|
|32||János Zsombor Pelikán (Hun)||0:02:36|
|33||Aharon Hitman (Isr)||0:03:35|
|34||Oscar Cabanas Quintela (And)||0:04:33|