After maintaining his remarkable unbeaten record for 2020 at the Tour de Pologne on Sunday, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) now turns his thoughts to his Monument debut on Saturday at Il Lombardia, where he will line up among the favourites for victory in Como.
Already winner of the Vuelta a San Juan and the Volta ao Algarve before the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the season, Evenepoel picked up where he left off when the campaign resumed, adding the Vuelta a Burgos and the Tour de Pologne to his burgeoning palmarès.
The revised UCI calendar meant that the Tour de Pologne clashed with both Milan-San Remo and a star-studded edition of the Tour de l’Ain, but Evenepoel’s prodigious feats demand attention regardless. The 20-year-old claimed victory in Poland thanks to a remarkable 51km solo attack at Bukowina Tatrzańska on Saturday, when he came home some 1:48 clear of Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).
Evenepoel crossed the line brandishing the race number of his teammate Fabio Jakobsen, who sustained serious injuries in a crash on stage 1 in Poland. After securing the overall victory on Sunday in Kraków, where Davide Ballerini picked up the team’s third stage win of the week, Evenpoel paid tribute to Jakobsen, who emerged from an induced coma on Friday and is expected to return to the Netherlands later this week.
“Three stage wins and the general classification is incredible, but the best result is that Fabio is recovering,” Evenepoel said. “From the moment the news came from the hospital about his condition, we received a big boost and gave absolutely everything for him. Knowing how he fought there gave us a lot of strength.”
Evenepoel was due to travel to Italy on Monday ahead of Il Lombardia, and he acknowledged to Sporza that he is among the favourites for the race. “Probably: I feel good and I still have a week to recuperate and explore the course,” Evenepoel said.
The Race of the Falling Leaves shifts to a novel summer date on the revised calendar, but familiar obstacles remain. The gruppo will tackle the climbs of Colle Gallo, Colle Brianza, Madonna del Ghisallo, Muro di Sormano, Civiglio and San Fermo della Battaglia on the road from Bergamo to Como.
“I have to avoid bad luck and know the descents very well. You can learn the course on the internet from the outside without seeing it, but I'm going to try to train as much as possible on the course, especially the finals,” Evenepoel told Sporza. “I'll travel to Italy tomorrow [Monday – ed.] and I'm going to explore the course a few times.”
Evenepoel will also make his Grand Tour debut on Italian roads in 2020 when he lines out at the Giro d’Italia, which gets underway in Palermo on October 3.
“The team has a lot of confidence in me and I have a lot of confidence in the team. We're going to the Giro with a strong team,” Evenepoel said. “We're going to do everything and then we'll fight as hard as possible for three weeks and then we'll see where I end up.”