Not only will he have to face the many passes of the two mountain stages on the program, but he will also have to face Sunday’s finish at 2,512 meters above sea level. On Saturday, the finish will be at the top of the Sierra de la Pandera (8.6 km at 7.6%). “It’s a steep and irregular climb, but not very long. I don’t think there are big gaps to go for,” explains Koen Pelgrim, Remco Evenepoel’s coach.
Sunday’s finish in the Sierra Nevada (19.4 km at 8%) is more interesting and attacks could disrupt the general classification. The finish will be on the Alto Hoya de la Mora, the highest point of this Vuelta at 2512 meters above sea level. At the end of the Tour de Suisse, Evenepoel failed to keep up with the acceleration of the overall riders on the Moosalp. “It’s a point on which we have worked a lot,” said Koen Pelgrim. “In Livigno he trained a lot at altitude. It’s very important for a rider to get used to the lack of oxygen. Even the Colombians we had in the team couldn’t pedal at the same power at altitude or at sea level. The only solution to limit the loss and go from ten to five percent, for example, is to train often to acclimatize your body.
Evenepoel completed an altitude training course in Livigno in July. After this course, the Belgian also benefited from a room simulating the altitude during his stay at the Syncrosfera hotel in Denia. “It was already a few weeks ago, we cannot define to what extent it may affect his performance. We can only hope that it has an effect”, concludes Koen Pelgrim.
Remco Evenepoel: “I hope not to waste time tomorrow”
After crashing Thursday, Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) had no problems Friday in the 13th stage of the Tour of Spain. The leader of the general classification did not have to defend his red jersey in this stage for sprinters removed by the Dane Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo). “The sensations could be a little better but everything is fine, no big problem,” said Remco Evenepoel on arrival. “I wore gloves today but I think tomorrow I will ride without again, it bothered me a lot during the stage. I wanted to finish the last kilometer in a good position. I managed to do well The team dropped me off 3km from the finish and then I looked for my own position, something I learned doing the trains for Fabio (Jakobsen) at the start of the season. It was quite easy to find my place in the peloton,” added the Belgian, 25th in the stage.
On Saturday, a mountain stage awaits the riders: 160.3 km between Montoro and Sierra de La Pandera, where the finish will be judged at the top of a 1st category pass. “Tomorrow promises to be another very nice stage. I just hope not to waste time, that’s the most important thing,” concludes Evenepoel.