Belgian cycling world champion Remco Evenepoel rode back into the overall leader’s pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia. In the 35 km long individual time trial on the ninth stage, the 23-year-old shooting star from the Soudal-Quick Step team celebrated the day’s win after a second thriller. Germany’s hopeful Lennard Kämna put in a decent performance and finished 12th, 51 seconds back.
Evenepoel, who had already worn the pink jersey in the early stages of the tour, overtook the previously leading Norwegian Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM), who lost a lot of time. He also extended the lead over his main rival Primoz Roglic from Slovenia (Jumbo-Visma), who finished sixth, to 47 seconds.
“I started too fast. The second part was bad, but then I found my legs again,” said Evenepoel at the finish. “It’s not the best result, but a stage win is obviously good.”
Second was Britain’s Geraint Thomas, just a second behind, ahead of his compatriot Tao Geoghegan Hart (both Ineos Grenadiers), who was two seconds slower than Evenepoel. Kämna, who is competing in the Giro this year for the first time with ambitions in the overall standings and is aiming for a top 10 finish, is now in ninth place (+2:37 minutes).
The second of three time trials of the Tour of Italy took the riders across completely flat terrain from Savignano sul Rubicone to Cesena. The second best German was Jasha Sütterlin (Bahrain Victorious) in 15th place.
On Saturday, Evenepoel lost seconds to Roglic for the first time when Irishman Ben Healy won the stage. Towards the end of the moderately difficult eighth stage to Fossombrone, the co-favorite Slovenian attacked and gained 14 seconds on Evenepoel. Kämna mismanaged his strength towards the end of the race, also had to give up and finished 34 seconds behind Roglic.
On Monday there is a rest day before the three-week Giro starts the tricky second week.