Few, very few, cyclists get angry like Remco Evenepoel. He complains in Barcelona about the low light on the first day: a matter of seconds in the rain. He curses in Andorra for falling just after crossing the finish line, where he raises his arms but is crossed by an assistant. He gets angry at Xorret de Catí because he thought he was ahead of a breakaway and didn't know that he and Roglic were sprinting for the win. And he laments in Valladolid for not winning the time trial that came in handy.
The Belgian, dressed in the rainbow, only yields to the giant Filippo Ganna, at almost 56 km/h through the streets of Pucela, a very fast circuit. But even then he is not satisfied. He seems upset. For losing the stage? Or because he doesn't get the advantage he wanted with Roglic? In short, few get angry like Evenepoel, who doesn't wear the red jersey either.
Kuss keeps the garment, which has given him wings. The American performs the time trial of his life. Like Marc Soler, solid, reliable, who was faced with a great opportunity and for whom Kuss's very high motivation also leaves him with a bittersweet feeling. He remains second, 26 seconds behind, and is the best-placed UAE but the hope was there, it was a red dream and he was left with the desire: near and far.
“My feelings have surprised me. I'm very happy. I went full throttle and kept up the pace until the finish line. I didn't look at the watts nor did I have any strategy, I just went to the fullest”, confesses Kuss, so unexpected that he was almost at the level of Vingegaard, who in the Tour overwhelmed and stunned half the world and in Valladolid he lost a minute with Evenepoel.
The winner of the 2022 Tour debuts the jersey he won in Sirling (Scotland), on August 11. So, it was 47 km, yes he overtook Ganna. In the 25.8 km of Valladolid he cannot. But what he does do is separate the wheat from the chaff. Evenepoel begins to understand that Roglic, who only gives up 20 seconds, can be his great rival, as long as he is capable of dismounting the rebels from the Javalambre breakaway.
While Juan Ayuso, who imagined losing half a minute with the Belgian, time slipped away. He leaves 55s in the time trial and is now 1m16s overall in Evenepoel, the measure for the favourites. But the young man does not give up. “It has been a very demanding time trial. I haven't had the best day but I'm in decent times to continue fighting for the overall”. Of course, Ayuso is already the third in the UAE, worse than Soler (two minutes) and also than Almeida.
Evenepoel could be happy but there is something that prevents him from enjoying this Tour. He frowns. He looks at the mountain that remains and sees himself surrounded by three Jumbo jets and three Emirates, a war where Enric Mas does not want to remain silent now that his land arrives.