Remco Evenepoel added another win to his packed 2022 palmarès on Tuesday, soloing to victory at the Belgian kermesse race Gullegem Koerse.
Gullegem Koerse might not be an official UCI event, but the 78th edition of the 171km race was hotly contested. Major names taking part included Greg Van Avermaet and Oliver Naesen (AG2R Citroën) along with Sep Vanmarcke (Israel-Premier Tech), Niki Terpstra (TotalEnergies), and Tom Devriendt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert).
Evenepoel, who in April won his first Monument at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, had been on the attack from the start of the race before letting a breakaway group take the lead. Then four laps from the finish, he was on the move again, taking Van Avermaet and Arjen Livyns (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB) with him, among others.
Evenepoel made his winning move heading towards the end of the penultimate lap of the race. None of his companions were able to stick with him and so he stayed away to claim a solo win after three-and-a-half hours of racing.
1:22 later, Sasha Weemaes (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) won the sprint for second place ahead of Jarne Van Grieken (Acrog-Tormans) and Van Avermaet.
"I thought this would be good, intensive training," Evenepoel said after his win. "But it was much more than that.
"It was a billiard table-flat course, but my bike handling is getting better and better, so I never got into trouble. I'd rather it end like this than just finish in the peloton – that's not in my character."
Evenepoel's win comes off the back of a dominant ride at the recent Tour of Norway, where he took stage victories on an uphill finish, a summit finish, and from a small group sprint on the way to a 56-second overall triumph, his eighth of the 2022 season.
"Norway is a nice bonus," he said. "It wasn't my best or biggest win, but my figures were very good. I thought that was more important after my period of rest following my Liège win."
He'll now take on the Tour de Suisse, which runs June 12-19.
"The race ends with a time trial," he said. "I can race defensively until the final day. It'll be important to be with the best climbers in Switzerland. I'll do everything I can to do that.
"I've ridden the long and steep climbs – the focus was on sustaining long efforts. Those are necessary to be good in Switzerland and then in the Vuelta a España."
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.