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Evenepoel left fuming after going wrong way during Tirreno-Adriatico attack

FERMO ITALY MARCH 11 Remco Evenepoel of Belgium and Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl White Best Young Rider Jersey crosses the finish line during the 57th TirrenoAdriatico 2022 Stage 5 a 155km stage from Sefro to Fermo 317m TirrenoAdriatico WorldTour on March 11 2022 in Fermo Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Remco Evenepoel bit his tongue and held in his anger after stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico, no doubt angry with himself and the race organisers after he went the wrong way with six kilometres to go on the hilly finale in Fermo.

The talented young Belgian had launched a perfectly-timed attack over one of the many steep muri climbs of the stage, with only race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) able to follow his surge.  

They were chasing Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) and the remains of the breakaway but suddenly went straight on during a descent instead of turning right and so had to slam on the brakes. Pogačar and Vingegaard quickly turned around and got on the tail of the chase group that had caught and passed them.

However Evenepoel had led Pogačar and Vingegaard the wrong way, quickly earning himself the name of ‘wrong-way’ Remco. It also meant he had to chase for longer, only catching the group with the final four kilometres to go in the narrow streets of Fermo.    

Evenepoel did not stop to talk after crossing the finish, quickly turning tail and riding down the hill to the quiet of his team bus. He only shared his thoughts after a while.

“I was joined only by Pogačar and Vingegaard, and we went full gas on the descent and had a good gap, but then there was almost nothing and no one to show us that we should go right. So instead of this, we continued to ride straight ahead and our promising move ended there,” he said, accepting little responsibility for the mistake or that riders are responsible for knowing the race route.

There were pink race arrows marking the route, as well as two race marshals and tape across the road, but the trio were apparently going too fast and were too focused on the race to see them.  

“I felt good today and had a fantastic team around me, who worked hard to keep me protected,” Evenepoel explained.  

“Then when UAE took over the pace-making, the speed increased and I knew that the right moment to attack had come.

“Fortunately, I had the legs to make up the gap, and also with some help of Davide Ballerini, I managed to return in the pack, but it’s a pity how things turned out at a moment when they were looking so good.”

Evenepoel has all but accepted Pogačar’s dominance at Tirreno-Adriatico, but he is riding to protect his second place overall. He is only nine seconds down on the Tour de France winner but knows the double climb of Monte Carpegna will decide everything.

Evenepoel also has to watch Vingegaard, who had a poor opening time trial but is now fourth overall at 45 seconds. The talented young Dutch rider Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) is third overall at 42 seconds and could also be a threat in the fight for the podium spots.

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.