Enric Mas promises ‘all or nothing’ against Remco Evenepoel at Vuelta a España

Movistar climber vows to go down swinging: 'We don't know if Remco will blow up or not.'

Photo: Luis Gomez - Pool/Getty Images

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Enric Mas vows he’s racing to win the Vuelta a España despite a very strong Remco Evenepoel holding firm at the Spanish grand tour’s midway mark.

The Movistar climber is 1:12 back going into Monday’s rest day, but promised he’s not racing for the podium or chasing UCI points.

“I’d like to do an ‘all or nothing,'” Mas said Monday. “We have to remember the UCI points, which the team needs in order to not descend. Let’s see if I can do it later, but that’s what I’d like.”

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After a rough and tumble Tour de France, where he eventually abandoned with COVID-19 after slipping out of the top-10, the best version of Mas is back.

“I’m taking it all day by day,” Mas said. “I had my doubts when the race started in Holland, and I still have a few. I’ve been with the strongest on the road, and that’s motivating.

“I had COVID, which was more recovery than training, so I keep having questions about my form to which I keep responding to in a positive way,” he said. “I hope it continues like this until the end of the Vuelta.”

Second at the Vuelta in 2018 and in 2021, Mas says he’s racing to win this Vuelta despite his less than ideal approach to the race, but he’s quick to admit that Evenepoel is the man in control right now.

“I had hoped to go even better than Evenepoel on the steepest ramps at Les Praeres,” said Mas, referring to Sunday’s mountaintop finale. “To be honest, I don’t know if he will blow up or not. The road from here to Madrid is still very long, but we have to admit we are seeing the best version of Remco right now.”

Mas said if Evenepoel continues at his current level, winning the Vuelta will difficult, adding the Primož Roglič, third at 1:53 back, remains a direct threat. Mas went into the red Sunday trying to stay on Evenepoel’s wheel, and ended up losing time.

“It will be nearly impossible if he continues like he is now,” Mas said. “We cannot forget Roglič. He’ll go well in the time trial, and I hope to be at his level. Right now, we have to take it day by day.”

Movistar loses Norsgaard to COVID

Mathias Norsgaard is the latest rider to leave the Vuelta with a COVID infection. The 25-year-old Dane was tested in routine rest day controls, officials said, and he will not start Tuesday’s time trial stage.

Movistar will start the second half of the Vuelta with seven riders.

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