Turin (Italy) (AFP)
Belgian star Remco Evenepoel described his suffering on Saturday about to finish seventh in the opening time trial of the Giro d’Italia on his comeback nine months after a horror crash.
The 21-year-old fractured his pelvis after hitting a bridge wall and plunging into a ravine during the Tour of Lombardy in Italy last August.
“I was very moved at the start, I had tears in my eyes,” said the Deceuninck – Quick Step rider.
“I didn’t really think about the victory or the pink jersey.
“I just wanted to take advantage of it, have a good time trial.
“Seventh place is fantastic. A short time trial is not something that favors me. I’m just happy. “
Evenepoel was leading the classic Lombardy day race when he misjudged a turn and fell 10 meters (30 feet) into a ravine.
The accident ended an incredible race, including a victory in the Tour of Poland which had scheduled him to race the Giro d’Italia 2020 in October where he would have been among the favorites.
During his grueling recovery, Evenepoel’s primary motivation was to be on the starting line in Turin for his first Grand Tour within three weeks of the Giro d’Italia.
On Saturday Evenepoel finished 19 seconds behind Italian world champion Filippo Ganna who won the 8.6 km time trial race for the second year in a row.
“It’s called making a comeback the hard way,” Evenepoel said.
“I didn’t expect to have so much pain. I didn’t really think of winning. I just wanted to feel this pain again and I felt it. “
His Portuguese teammate Joao Almeida, fourth in last year’s Giro overall standings and among the favorites, finished fourth on the day, two seconds faster than Evenepoel.
Britain’s Simon Yates, former Vuelta a Espana winner, and Colombian Egan Bernal, the 2019 Tour de France champion, both finished within a second of each other at just under 40 seconds of rhythm.
© 2021 AFP