In the Norwegian Stavanger from Friday to Sunday, the Hammer Series organized, a revolutionary wedstrijdformat on the initiative of Velon, a special interest group that has a lot of teams from the World Tour together. Deceuninck – Quick Step relies among others on Remco Evenepoel.
The top talent from Deceuninck – Quick Step, after the Tour de Romandie, three weeks without competition prescribed. The Dutchman will resume the league next Friday in Norway for the Hammer Series, a three-day with a climb and sprint stage win, ended by a chase. The local organizers got the chance to have a chat to do with Evenepoel.
Suddenly, from the juniors to the pros switch has many surprised. How did you get your team mates welcomed on the first training camp?
”The reception was warm but I was certainly no preferential treatment compared to the other newcomers. They have me tested to see what level I already had. During that training camp, we have a few contests held, and there I have them just a little bit of pain can do. It was fun.”
Did you feel any pressure?
“I was motivated to show that I was good. Maybe it was my level, therefore, a little higher than the level of the riders that are still not so many had trained for. But really I was also not, hey.”
You made it right impression during your first race in the Round of San Juan.
“That’s right! It was the ideal way to debut. Especially the time trial, in which I finished third, was special for me. When I was in the hot seat was allowed to sit down, and I thought for quite a while to win. Unfortunately, it changed the direction of the wind so the guys after me were started in the advantage. But I was afterwards still happy with my third place in the ranking. It was the first time that I felt also on this level. At the same time, I realize that I still a lot of work will have to resist.”
Also in the UAE Tour loved you well, position between the top.
“I was hoping in the first mountain stage top twenty to drive and was finally fifteen, and barely a minute of Alejandro Valverde. The favorites started the climb at a scorching pace that is just too high for me. So I climbed at his own pace and I was in the final stage, still a lot of riders to pass. It was a great result, probably one of my best results at the end of the season.”
Where lies, in addition to the speed, the biggest difference between the juniors category.
“The profleven is completely different than the life that I was used to. Last year I was still in school and I was the whole day busy. Now, I have much more time. I get up, go sometimes go for a ride, take my breakfast and go again for a ride. When I still went to school, was the day after my trainingsirt. Now, I am often already in the afternoon at home and I will have nothing more to do. Then you need to be smart and all in the sign of rest and recuperation. Especially with the latter occasionally I still have trouble. Probably because I’m young. I have probably some mistakes made due to lack of rest.”
No advice given by your team mates?
“But I do! That I need to be sure that there is always a home for me is with my family and that my old friends should not be neglected. And to be sure not to stay at home in the periods that you are not riding a bike. When I’m at home after a few race days will be oddly, they counseled me to do something with friends. Bowling, for example, just to clear your head and not on the course to think. That is something I still need to learn.”
What was your best moment on the bike so far?
“In addition to my performance in Argentina and Turkey, I think, especially at a stage in the UAE Tour. There was wind, it was war and the peloton split. I got stuck behind a trap. I felt that it was still not fast enough went. I fell and rode on my own for the first platoon. But then I was behind another fall, this time with team mate Viviani but also with Tom Dumoulin. For ten minutes I have at the head of our platoon dragged and when we re-in front came, is Dumoulin me to come out here to say that I very strongly had driven. That was a big moment for me.”
What do you think of the format of the Hammer Series?
“I have images and am ready for a war (laughs). I’d rather have a short, hard race with two hours of intensive courses instead of four hours of hiking. Perhaps the healing is not heavy enough for me but if you use them every round to do, then it counts. I think that this format me.”
Especially with your aggressive driving style!
“I agree! Especially the klimwedstrijd must be my driving style to fit. According to my team mates is one of the hardest games of the season.”
In the Hammer Series wins the team and not the individual. Makes it that special for you?
“Very sure. That is the beauty of the Hammer Series. You have your teammates need, otherwise you can’t win. You have to think differently, more in function of the collective. It is a new way of racing and that pleases me.”