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Remco Evenepoel will bring some rainbows to the Belgian autumn next month.
Evenepoel will debut his rainbow jersey at Binche-Chimay-Binche on October 4 in what will be his first race since he blazed to victory at the UCI Road World Championships last weekend.
“Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl CEO Patrick Lefevere contacted me today with the wish that he wants to place Remco Evenepoel in Binche,” race organizer Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke told Sporza. “It was an unexpected phone call, but very pleasant.”
The race also known as Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke will mark a passing of the Belgian baton. Former world champion Philippe Gilbert already confirmed the south Belgian race will be the last of his 20-year career.
Evenepoel set Belgian hearts alight Sunday with his ride into the rainbow jersey. His world title is Belgium’s first since Gibert won the road worlds in Valkenburg in 2012.
Gilbert, 40, hailed his successor on social media Sunday.
“Congratulations and thanks for the emotions! Thank you Remco Evenepoel! The most beautiful champion we could have,” Gilbert wrote.
Gilbert will close his career at Binche after an illustrious 20-year ride that saw him bag four of the five monuments, win Amstel Gold four times, wear rainbows in the 2013 season, and amass a total of 80 victories.
“I invite all cycling enthusiasts to come to our race on Tuesday to celebrate Remco Evenepoel and Philippe Gilbert,” race organizer Vandenbroucke said.
Lefevere: ‘Only God knows if he can top this season’
Binche-Chimay-Binche looks set to be Evenepoel’s last race for some time.
A whirlwind late summer amassing victories at Clásica San Sebastián, the Vuelta a España, and the road worlds looks set to end when the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl megastar rides his rainbow jersey across the line in Binche.
“Only God knows if he can top this season,” team boss Lefevere told the Sporza podcast Monday.
“He will ride Binche-Chimay-Binche to show his rainbow jersey in his own country and to say goodbye to Philippe Gilbert and Iljo Keisse in the race, two riders he greatly admired. After that, it’s time to rest for a while.”
Evenepoel is set to return to Belgium on Saturday in what will be his first taste of home soil since he flew out to the Vuelta. Local officials are scheduling a reception for the 22-year-old at the Brussels city hall on Saturday, with a public presentation in the historic Grote Markt in front of thousands of fans.