Remco Evenepoel on morning after Vuelta a España crash: ‘I slept fine’

Evenepoel says Juan Ayuso's presence in the Vuelta is 'risky' and vows to keep distance from Spanish rider who is infected with COVID-19.

Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

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MONTILLA, Spain (VN) — Remco Evenepoel started Friday’s 13th stage with a banged-up knee following a fall the day before, but vowed he’s ready to defend the red jersey at the Vuelta a España.

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl star also said he’ll return to racing without gloves in a few days after slipping out on a corner Thursday that left him with gashes to his hip, knee, and hands.

“I slept well and did not suffer from the abrasions,” Evenepoel told reporters at the start Friday. “There’s a big bandage on my leg, but in a place that doesn’t really fold. It is not on the knee, which moves continuously. The bandage does not bother me.

“The wound on my hand will be healed tomorrow, so I hope I can ride without gloves again. I slept very well, and everything is fine for today.”

Evenepoel also said he’d be keeping his distance from GC rival Juan Ayuso.

The UAE Team Emirates rider tested for mild symptoms of COVID-19, but the team is letting him stay in the race.

“I’m going to stay far away from him at the start,” Evenepoel said of Ayuso. “I think it’s risky. There is a good chance that he will still give up because corona slowly builds up in the body.”

Also read: Can Quick-Step defend Remco’s red jersey?

Evenepoel started the rolling stage with a lead to 2:41 to Primož Roglič and 3:03 to Enric Mas.

Back-to-back mountain summit finishes in southern Spain will be the next challenges for Evenepoel and his quest to win Belgium’s first grand tour since 1978.

For Friday, Evenepoel is hoping for a relatively day in the saddle.

“We’re hoping it’s the same like two days ago, and the sprinter teams will do some more work,” Evenepoel said. “I hope to have a safe day on the bike.”

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