Remco Evenepoel has vowed to take the fight to his GC rival and “idol” Primož Roglič on Sunday’s final stage of the Volta a Catalunya after the pair fought over bonus seconds on stage 6 to Molins de Rei. The world champion, who lies 10 seconds down on the race leader, traded seconds with the Slovenian on the lumpy 174km stage , with the duo escaping late on and Evenepoel even mixing it with the sprinters at the end of the stage. Speaking after the stage, Evenepoel said that the team’s plan had been for Evenepoel to attack on the late climb 27km from the line, though he had hoped that Roglič wouldn’t be on his wheel.
“It was the plan this morning,” Evenepoel told Eurosport . “We had a plan to go from the base of the climb full gas but in the end, another team did it to control for the sprint, so I decided to wait for the last kilometre and do an attack like I did in Liège, just over the top of the climb and the descent full gas. ” Read more Volta a Catalunya stage 6: Groves sprints to victory on teammate’s bike Egan Bernal abandons Volta a Catalunya after stage 6 crash Volta a Catalunya stage 5: Roglic shakes Evenepoel to win climbing clash at Lo Port Evenepoel added that he had hoped to battle for the stage win with his GC rival but said that Jumbo-Visma ‘s team orders prevented Roglič from cooperating.
The 23-year-old appeared frustrated and swung off the front of the duo ahead of the final intermediate sprint, but he and Roglič were back on the front there as Evenepoel snatched back the second he had lost earlier in the day. “In the end, I had the wrong guy with me,” Evenepoel said. “I mean he’s the strongest of the race so probably if he works with me, we go to the finish line together because we had 30 seconds arriving in the valley.
But I think his team decided to not ride and save the jersey, which I completely understand. “But it’s just a pity because it would’ve been nice to try and go for the stage win. I even told him that I just wanted to try and go for the stage, even if would be second I’d be happy.
But of course, if you get team orders you have to follow them. It’s not that I’m angry or something; that’s just bike racing. ” Sunday’s final stage takes Evenepoel, Roglič and the rest of the peloton to Barcelona for a 136km stage which takes in six laps of the hilly Monjuïc Park overlooking the city.
The Alt del Catell de Montjuïc will play host to the final GC battle of the race, which has seen Roglič lead from the start with Evenepoel hanging close behind him all week. Evenepoel said he expects a hard day of racing where he’ll again bid for a stage win and the overall title as well as another battle with Roglič if they can get away together once more. “For sure, there’s a pretty long climb in the beginning of the stage so there will be big attacks, big tempo, hard racing,” he said.
“Then the local lap in Barcelona is known to be very hard. There’s not one moment of rest so there will be attacks all over the place. For sure we’ll try to go for the stage win, hopefully.
“But of course, the GC will be very difficult. But everything is still possible. We will see.
I think today it was again he two strongest who went off on the climb. Let’s hope it’s the same tomorrow and I hope that if we go, he’ll work with me, and we can try to go for the stage. ” Evenepoel said that the race, his first back after two weeks at altitude on Mount Teide, has been about testing himself as much as anything.
With six weeks left to go until the Giro d’Italia – and another battle with Roglič – begins, there are still a few percentage points of form to find. “I came from altitude – I need to feel how the legs are, I want to race, I want to improve towards the Giro,” he said. “I feel that I’m still not at 100%, I’m just in good shape.
But I feel like there are small details like weight etc that can still improve my shape. “But I think that what we are showing together is that we are very equal in level and that it’ll be a very nice battle during the Giro if we keep this shape. But of course, some other guys will also improve.
“It’s actually very nice to race against my idol because I really look up to him. It’s just very nice to race with a superstar like Primož. “.