I am back on using this space (would probably soon consider a blog section on LFR site) to write down what I think of what happened in Worlds between Van Aert and Evenepoel. Not speaking about declarations in general, but about the tactic and about what happened.

First: the tactic. According to what was reported by the riders in question, main tactic should’ve been Evenepoel keeping himself in peloton, following attack in final and in general working for WVA sprint. What happened is that Evenepoel followed attacks earlier, gave all he has for WVA once reached.

To undestand this tactic we should first think imho at what were the best chances for the riders in question to win the race. Evenepoel is indeed favourite in long-range solo attacks due to his TT skills and in general superior lungs on the flat portions. WVA can win a restricted sprint.

In an ideal world belgium tactic would so have been Evenepoel attacking in the last lap – or before it in a small group, using him to make WVA saving energies to lost wheels. Stuyven as its last domestique.

Would define the approach of this World Championships a little embarassing from the point of view of Belgian Team. Evenepoel was basically denied his chance in press – the only rider of the belgian team that received this treatment and – to make sure of it – old uncle Eddie added salt in the press.

I don’t think that was fair. I don’t remember any World Championship in which you said to one of the possible winners “you are going to be full committed to WVA”. This hasn’t been requested to Stuyven, i.e., that rightly had his chances in the final. So the first question on the matter is that if you bring Evenepoel you should give him a chanche. It’s unrespectful to not do that. If you want a domestique for WVA bring a domestique – there were plenty of them at home for Belgium. If you bring here Evenepoel, you should respect Evenepoel and give him his chance. The whole approach of the World Championships bringing Evenepoel on a bad spotlight was honestly unrespectful for the rider.

We then have the race – and even in the race there is someting that needs to be talked about. While Belgium first favoured Evenepoel group, there was a moment in which Madouas, Evenepoel, Bagioli, Van Baarle and Powless was the leading group with 35” and Belgium chased this group behind brigning everyone back, just to drop Kristoff and Sagan.

This was in my opinion the most nonsense move of the entire worlds – as Belgium used domestiques and dropped domestiques. The outcome of this was that Evenepoel didn’t got a possible chance of playing his cards in a group of 5 and Belgium went outnumbered in domestiques. Belgium went from protecting the attempt at 68 to go, to chase it at 60 to go.

The outcome was Belgium not having Teuns and Lampaert anymore, making race more hard for Alaphilippe, burning a possible chance to ride on wheels because of Evenepoel in front and using the same Evenepoel as WVA domestique (he asked for his chance at this point on car, it was denied).

Here we have the first question: does WVA already felt bad legs here? Because in this case he had to tell the car and team should’ve acted differently. I don’t want to say that the purpose of the action was to put Evenepoel out from possible contenders and make sure Belgium would’ve rode for WVA at that point, but this is exactly what happened.

Evenepoel then giving all he had to distance a group without possible contenders was honestly another bad move. Belgium had Lampaert and Teuns behind – who were they try to distance? It just made race even harder benefitting Alaphilippe.

In conclusion, I don’t think Evenepoel is to be blamed here. If you want a domestique, call a domestique. If you call a free rider you should expect that he rode like that and he’ll probably do it tomorrow in Lombardia. In other words, from real world examples, if you are Jumbo-Visma and you bring both Roglic and Van Aert in a classic that both can win in different way, you shouldn’t expect Roglic to work for Van Aert and would be disrespectful asking Roglic to do so.

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