Remco Evenepoel starts his sixth season in the colors of Soudal Quick-Step this week, at the Portuguese one-day race.
Best Belgian Sportsman of the Year for the third time in his career, an award that came after another incredible campaign, the 24-year-old Remco Evenepoel will lead the team at the Figueira Champions Classic, where Basque climber Mikel Landa will make his debut for the Wolfpack. They will be joined by Mattia Cattaneo, James Knox, Pieter Serry, neo-pro Warre Vangheluwe, and Louis Vervaeke.
The profile of this weekend’s 220km race is a hilly one, and will consist of two parts, the second of which comprises four leg-sapping circuits over the Rua Parque Forestal and Enforca Cães climbs. The last of these hurdles is set to be tackled inside the final eight kilometers, and its double-digit gradients is where the eventual winner could take off.
“We have great memories from last year, when we won there with Casper Pedersen. Now we come with a different team, and Remco, of course, will be our leader. It’s going to be his first race of the season, he is eager to race, as always, and we want to do something nice. The route is a bit longer than last year, with a pretty demanding local lap featuring some steep climbing. The weather doesn’t look very promising, and could have an impact on the race, but we’ll just have to wait for Saturday and see how things go. One thing is certain: we are very motivated to do our best”, said Soudal Quick-Step sports director Iljo Keisse.
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel