Emotions ran high in Bergamo.
After Remco Evenepoel had crossed the finish line in 19th place in northern Italy, his family was waiting for him with tears in their eyes.
“It was a difficult day,” admitted Dad Patrick in an interview after the finish. “When he came to us, it just broke loose for everyone. We were pleased that he had made it to the finish in one piece.”
The memories of the dramatic previous edition of the Tour of Lombardy, when Evenepoel fell into a ravine, came up again.
Our man on the spot saw with his own eyes how lucky Evenepoel was then – he dived almost 10 meters into the depth. “On the images in the Journaal you could see how deep it was”, nodded dad Evenepoel. “I once fell down 12 meters on a construction site.”
“You know, you want your son to be happy and to perform – he wants that too. But if he doesn’t, he’ll just sit at our table every day of the week.”
In addition to the aftermath of the injuries caused by the fall, Evenepoel also regularly faced headwinds after somewhat “lesser” performances. “Remco has had a very difficult time,” said Patrick Evenepoel. “Certainly after the Olympics. We received threatening letters. And people sent messages that Remco was a traitor. That he should just start playing football again.”
Patrick takes a deep breath: “People are sometimes so naughty in what they dare to say or write… We have to put that aside within our family and make sure that the negativity does not dominate.”
Because despite all the difficulties, Evenepoel had a particularly good season. “8 wins”, his father knows. “And then also 5 medals in 6 championships. For someone who crawled out of the valley, those are numbers to be proud of.”
Knowing Evenepoel, he will want to come out even better in 2022. He will be able to prepare himself in optimal conditions this winter.
“He has bought an apartment in Calpe himself,” said his father. “In principle, he will stay there from December. He likes to be there and the course is ideal. His buddy Siebe Roesems will often stay there now.”