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Veni, vidi, Remco

14/05/2023

With the crossing of the Rubicon, Julius Caesar had shown to the world that men have the power to change the course of history, instead of just being carried away by it. And today, Remco Evenepoel tried to change the history of this Giro d’Italia. Only time will tell if he has succeeded or not, but the first impression is that today’s victory by the Belgian – using wartime jargon – might be described as “mutilated” to say the least.

All that matters, at least for the moment, is that he won the time trial and is back in the Maglia Rosa, as Andreas Leknessund did not succeed in the impossible task of defending the leadership symbol. But the news of the day is a different one, namely that not minutes flew between the favourites, as might have been expected, but only thousandths of a second. Behind Evenepoel came Geraint Thomas, distanced by just one second, and behind Geraint Thomas came Tao Geoghegan Hart, distanced by another second. In short, we are dealing with an individual time trial featuring sprint finish gaps. Quite a unique case.

This is exactly why Remco, by his own admission, is not completely satisfied with this success: he would have liked to have gone into the first rest day with a larger margin over his rivals. “The last two stages weren’t my best days, I did not offer my best performance. I hope to recover well with the rest day,” said the Soudal-QuickStep captain, visibly distraught after the finish.

But, perhaps, the least pleasant news for the Maglia Rosa is that Primož Roglič is not his only rival on this Giro, as the Ineos Grenadiers duo, Thomas and Geoghegan Hart, are entering the second week in quite perfect physical condition. Not to mention the never tame João Almeida, still close enough to be considered a more than credible contender. On Tuesday, in Scandiano, after the rest day, Evenepoel will be hounded by the barbarians: Thomas is at 45″, Roglič at 47″, Geoghegan Hart at 50″ and Almeida at 1’07”. The GC has taken a rather authoritative shape, but we are still far from the Alps, and Julius Caesar would confirm that that’s where all the difference is made. Remco has plenty of battles awaiting for him before making it back to Rome with the crown.

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