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World champion Remco Evenepoel wins Tour de France time trial, stays second overall behind Tadej Pogačar

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In short:

World time trial champion Remco Evenepoel won his first Tour de France stage and consolidated his spot in second place overall with victory on stage seven.

Tadej Pogačar finished second, 12 seconds behind over the 25km course

What’s next?

Saturday’s stage eight will take the peloton on a hilly ride to Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, the home and final resting place of former French President Charles de Gaulle.

Race-against-the-clock specialist Remco Evenepoel displayed impressive power and precision in winning the Tour de France’s first time trial on Friday.

In his slipstream was every other contender for the yellow jersey, including holder Tadej Pogačar.

Despite a small problem with his bike close to the finish that cost him a few seconds, the Tour debutant mastered the 25-kilometre stage in the Burgundy Grand Crus wine country to dominate his first win at cycling’s biggest race.

Evenepoel clocked 28 minutes, 52 seconds to beat Pogačar by 12 seconds. Primož Roglič was third, 34 seconds behind. 

World time trial champion Evenepoel, clad in the white jersey for the best young rider in the race instead of the rainbow jersey, has now won stages at all three grand tours — the Giro d’Italia, Tour and Vuelta.

Evenepoel, who was first at all intermediate check points, stayed in second place in the general classification, 33 seconds behind Pogačar. Two-time defending champion Jonas Vingegaard was third overall, 1:15 behind.

Pogačar added 25 seconds on Vingegaard, taking his revenge from last year’s time trial in Combloux where the Slovenian was at the receiving end of a sobering beating by the Dane. Vingegaard, however, did not lose too much time and the gap between them was not that big with more than two weeks of hard racing remaining.

Tadej Pogacar grimaces in yellow

Tadej Pogačar remains in yellow as the overall race leader.(AP Photo: Daniel Cole)

“I gained time on Primož and on Jonas and the other guys, I can be really happy,” Pogačar said. 

“I need to keep an eye on Remco now, he is a bit closer. They can show good legs in the next mountain stages. Still a long way to go.”

Pogačar collected his 26th yellow jersey. One more and he’ll join Vingegaard in 15th spot on the all-time ranking for the most days at the top of the general classification.

There was a big question mark over Vingegaard’s form before the start following the crash that wreaked havoc with his season. Vingegaard was hospitalised for nearly two weeks in Spain in April following a high-speed crash in the Tour of the Basque Country. He sustained a broken collarbone and ribs and a collapsed lung.

Evenepoel has been regarded as a cycling prodigy for years. A versatile rider, he has won the 2022 Vuelta and classics after recovering from a horrific crash during a race in Italy in 2020.

He won the world time trial last year and the road race in Wollongong in 2022. He needed surgery this season after breaking a collarbone and shoulder blade in the same crash that hampered Vingegaard at the Tour of Basque Country. 

The two-time world champion will lead Belgium’s men’s team in road cycling at the Paris Olympics.

“As for the rest of the Tour de France, I believe Tadej is going to be unreachable,” Evenepoel said.

Remco Evenepoel in time trial position

Remco Evenepoel won the 25.3km time trial at an average speed of 52.5km/h.(AP Photo: Daniel Cole)

“But this is cycling, you never know what can happen. The further into the race we go, the better I will feel, so I’ll focus more on the podium because I feel I have the legs for it.”

The stage took riders on forest roads and through vineyards on a mostly flat terrain. The short climb of the Côte de Curtil-Vergy after 12 kilometres added a dose of pain on the way to the finish in Gevrey-Chambertin.

Tucked in a perfect aerodynamic position, Evenepoel went all out in the descent, reaching an impressive speed of 87.3 kph, according to the NTT Data trackers.



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