Remco Evenepoel ‘Not Sick or Injured’ but Admits ‘My Tank Was Empty’ During Vuelta a Espana Stage 13

Remco Evenepoel arrived in Spain as the defending champion of the Vuelta a Espana but his hopes of retaining the title now look to be completely erased. The Belgian finished 60th on Stage 13 on Friday, dropping to 19th in the general classification and almost half an hour off the leader, Jumbo-Visma’s Sepp Kuss. Evenepoel now says he has a decision to make over the rest of the tour.

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Soudal Quick-Step’s Klaas Lodewyck denied Remco Evenepoel was either sick or injured after a poor Vuelta a Espana Stage 13, but the rider admitted his “tank was empty”.

He had earlier won Stage 3, and led the overall standings for three days of the first week in Spain. The 23-year-old Belgian is now in 19th in the general classification, almost half an hour behind race leader Sepp Kuss.

As one of the pre-Vuelta favourites, Evenepoel’s hopes of victory are over. He had arrived as the defending champion, but the red jersey looks unlikely to be given up by Jumbo-Visma, who occupy the top spot with Kuss, second with Primoz Roglic, and third with Jonas Vingegaard.

Speaking after a stage which was won by Vingegaard atop the Tourmalet, he offered little by way of explanation, and hinted that there was a choice to be made for the rest of the competition.

He said: “It was just one of those days where my tank was empty. We gave it everything and I have no regrets. I want to thank my team-mates who stayed with me the whole day and left everything out there for me.

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“We will discuss and look at where we go from here for the rest of La Vuelta.”

There had been speculation that the rider was suffering from an undeclared ailment, be it injury or illness, but Lodewyck denied either were the case.

Sports director Lodewyck said: “Not much can be said about this stage. It was just a bad day for Remco – he was not sick or injured.

“It’s unfortunate and it can happen. Cycling is not racing on a simulator and we are all human beings.

“We will sit down as a team tonight, assess what happened and look at our goals for the rest of the race.”

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