Remco Evenepoel isn’t in the identical glowing type that carried him to Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory this spring, however the world champion stays within the hunt to win the Tour de Suisse after putting second on stage 4 to Leukerbad.
As on the earlier afternoon at Villars-sur-Ollon, Evenepoel was unable to trace the profitable transfer on the ultimate climb as Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën) soloed clear to stage victory and total lead. The Belgian as an alternative opted to dose his effort rigorously earlier than outsprinting Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) for second place, 1:02 behind Gall.
Talking after the end, Evenepoel defined that he had mimicked the techniques of his former teammate João Almeida reasonably than attempt to answer the accelerations of his rivals. The Tour de Suisse marks Evenepoel’s return to competitors after a optimistic check for COVID-19 compelled him out of the Giro d’Italia whereas carrying the maglia rosa.
“It was the Almeida tactic,” Evenepoel mentioned, in response to Het Nieuwsblad. “In the meanwhile, I am unable to do the rest. I’ve bother with modifications in tempo, however I do know I can sustain the tempo – a cushty, painful tempo. With the shape I’ve now, survival is the one right tactic.”
Though Evenepoel sometimes seemed in issue on the primary part of the two-part climb in the direction of Dorben, he fared reasonably higher on the second, after which outstripped Skjelmose on the ultimate kick to the road in Leukerbad.
“The final ten kilometres of the climb went rather a lot higher, in order that’s an indication that I’m definitely not unhealthy,” mentioned Evenepoel, who now lies third total, 16 seconds behind Gall and 14 down on Skjelmose.
“I’m truly having an excellent week. I’ve completed second twice, and I used to be fourth yesterday. After all, I am not at my peak, not like on the Giro or Catalunya, the place I might play with the pedals.”
With a 25.7km time trial to return on Sunday, Evenepoel stays effectively positioned to assert the general title, however provided that he stays inside touching distance of Gall and Skjelmose within the days forward, beginning with Thursday’s demanding stage to La Punt, which brings the race over the hors categorie Albulapass.
“If I do the maths rapidly, Gall misplaced 1:10 within the opening time trial, and Sunday’s time trial is twice as lengthy, so we’re speaking about two minutes and twenty seconds,” Evenepoel mentioned. “However I am unable to lose any extra time tomorrow. I’d, in fact, prefer to take one thing again.”
The two,433m-high Furkapass comes early within the stage, adopted quickly afterwards by the Oberalpass. The summit of the Albulapass (17.4km at 6.8%) comes simply 10km from the end in La Punt.
“These are three lengthy and excessive climbs, and with the form I’ve now, that fits me finest,” Evenepoel mentioned of stage 5. “It is going to be a very completely different race to the previous two days. It received’t be à bloc, however there’ll be a relentless, excessive tempo.”