The comeback of the highly gifted

The heaviest time of his career had not forgotten the Belgian supertalent remco eventpoel for his furious triumphal ride of Liège. “It was hard. Everyone in my team, in my family knows that. There were many moments in which I cried baseless because I did not find me. In so many races,” the 22-year-old reported his cumbersome Return, who has brought him a happy end of him on Sunday with the victory in the heavy spring classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Horror fall in Lombardy

It was 20 months ago when Evenepoel was motionless between branches and rock boulders in Italy. The highly gifted on the racing bike had fallen after a descent at the Lombardy tour over the parapet of a bridge and fell several meters deep. It had to be feared worst. The fact that a pelvic break and a lung squeeze were diagnosed in the Sant’anna hospital was almost a happy fact. A few meters further, a fall would have had fatal consequences.

And yet for Evenepoel, a period of suffering followed that made it difficult for him “mentally and physically”. The recovery was not the way he imagined it. This was difficult to accept for a miracle boy whose career went in just one direction and the comparisons with the Belgian bike legend Eddy Merckx had to be accepted. To do this, he had to put up with criticism, even from Merckx, who accused youngster selfishness.

Cycling instead of career in professional football


Patience was asked, that didn’t know that Evenepoel. After all, everything went on its own. Because the boy from Aalst is an all -rounder. At the age of 16, he played in the Belgian football junior selection, the half marathon he ran in considerable 1:13 hours. The path to football was actually prescribed, among other things he played for PSV Eindhoven and the RSC Anderlecht. He had already signed a professional contract. But his love belonged to cycling – like his father Patrick, who was a professional at Collstrop in the 1990s.

The fact that the decision was right was already shown at the beginning of his career. Already in his premier year he won the Clasica San Sebastian and became vice-world champion in time trial. Suddenly a 19-year-old left seasoned cycling professionals like beginners. Until that day in Lombardy that changed a lot. “You can be talented as you want, but you need your head and the will to continue working hard and improve,” said Evenepoel.

long-term contract until 2026

In Liège “the best remco was sitting on the bike”, said Evenepoel. And team boss Patrick Lefevere, who has already helped many cycling professionals like Marcel Kittel or Mark Cavendish back into the trail of success, was confirmed. “We were not wrong to continue investing in him,” said Lefevere. Even before his comeback, even in April 2021, Evenepoel received a contract extension at Quick Step by five years.