Vuelta a España stage 14 report: Emotional Evenepoel bounces back for remarkable victory

24 hours after the anguish of dropping out of GC contention, Remco Evenepoel went on the offensive, along with Romain Bardet.

Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) wins stage 14 of the 2023 Vuelta a España. Photo: © Cor Vos

Kit Nicholson
by Kit Nicholson 09.09.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos
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It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new Remco Evenepoel.

The day after losing almost 27 minutes to the Jumbo-Visma trident on the first day in the Pyrenees, the 23-year-old – back in the Belgian national champion’s jersey – was a different rider on stage 14. Clearly keen from the start of the day, he made it into the breakaway and was instrumental in whittling it down in the high mountains, eventually reducing the 30-odd riders to two. Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich) was the best of the rest, but the Frenchman could not hang on in the last 4 km of the Puerto de Belagua (9.4 km at 6.3%), and Evenepoel climbed away to take his second stage win of the Vuelta.

The moment Remco rode away.

How it happened:

Brief results:


Brief analysis

Good job, Ayuso, for trying something.

Quote of the day

Evenepoel can nearly always be counted on for a decent quote, and after stage 14 the 23-year-old was open about what he went through mentally after losing time on stage 13, before explaining his knowledge of Saturday’s stage.

“I had a very bad night and a lot of negative thoughts in my head. Today, I woke up, and I thought to myself, ‘Just go for it and make the best of it.’

“I did a recon of this stage because it was important for the GC and because it was a super hard stage. I knew it perfectly: how the climbs were, how hard they were because it was a super tough stage. I think it’s just super nice to take a second stage win. I can be very proud of this answer after yesterday.”

Romain Bardet on Remco ‘Aero-Skin’ Evenepoel: “on the descents he was so aero that I was having to pedal to stay with him”.

What’s next?

Stage 15 takes the Vuelta peloton onto rather more gentle terrain between Pamplona and Lekunberri. There’s very little flat terrain on Sunday’s 159-km race, but with just three categorised ascents among the lumps and bumps along the way, it’ll be more one-day classic than GC showdown, and the Lekunberri laps – feat. the second-category Puerto de Zuarrarrate (6.3 km at 5.1%) – will favour an attacking breakaway. Look out for the likes of Einer Rubio (Movistar), Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe), and hey, what about stage-hunter extraordinaire Remco Evenepoel? If he’s still feeling good, and resplendent in the big blue polka dot jersey, who would bet against him?

Best of social media

Speculation continued the morning after Evenepoel’s precipitous drop out of GC contention, and having offered no words to media on the day itself, the young Belgian champion kept it simple before stage 14.

But it was a new day, and Evenepoel entered into a heated mano-a-mano battle with Bardet on a very very hot day in the mountains.

It wasn’t just the riders looking for respite from the heat of the sun.

Chapeau, Remco.

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