Cycling World Cup: Pogacar vs. Evenepoel - duel of the talents of the century?


Cycling World Cup
Pogacar vs. Evenepoel - duel of the talents of the century?

Remco Evenepoel won the Tour of Spain this year.  Photo: Manu Fernandez/AP/dpa

Remco Evenepoel won the Tour of Spain this year. photo

© Manu Fernandez/AP/dpa

In the difficult world championship road race, there could be a great showdown between the two highly gifted cyclists. Two-time Tour champion Tadej Pogacar meets Vuelta winner Remco Evenepoel.

Remco Evenepoel already has his biggest rivals in the fight for the World Cup on his list. "The birds," joked the young Belgian star.

Evenepoel already had an unpleasant acquaintance with the "Angry BirdsFinally, the Magpies (magpies) are notorious for their attacks on cyclists and pedestrians during the Australian spring mating season.

On Sunday in the extremely difficult road race over 266.9 kilometers other calibers are waiting. Such as Tadej Pogacar. And so it could come to the first big duel of the two child prodigies of cycling. Here is 22-year-old Evenepoel, who has just won his first Grand Tour by winning the Vuelta and is considered the biggest promise since the legendary Eddy Merckx in his native Belgium. There Pogacar, just turned 24 and already decorated with two Tour de France wins and a second place this summer.

Duel of the child prodigies

Quite a few experts believe that this duel will shape the next decade in cycling. Evenepoel's fateful fall during the Tour of Lombardy in August 2020 prevented the great showdown from taking place earlier. He fell over a bridge wall and suffered a fractured pelvis and a contused lung. It wasn't until nine months later that he returned to the racetrack.

Evenepoel has long since returned to its old form. He has already clinched 14 victories in 2022. So it's a good thing that Pogacar hasn't finished the season after his somewhat sobering second place on the tour behind the Dane Jonas Vingegaard. "We all think about the gold medal. I have the chance to win the World Championship. It's a special competition," said the Slovenian, who recently won the Grand Prix in Montreal.

Evenepoel - a sporty all-rounder

That two such talents of the century entered the cycling stage almost at the same time is unusual. Even as youngsters, the two provided amazing performances. A professional career in football was actually planned for Evenepoel. As a Belgian junior national player, he played for the record champions RSC Anderlecht.

But even then it became clear that the then 16-year-old was a multi-talent. One day after a football game, Evenepoel started at the Brussels Half Marathon in 2016 and finished 13th in an unbelievable 1:16:15 hours.

The boy from Schepdaal soon lost interest in football and climbed onto his racing bike. Only two years later Evenepoel, whose father Patrick was also a professional cyclist for a few years, was already double world champion in the juniors.

Pogacar is the second youngest winner in Tour history

Pogacar, meanwhile, has always been about cycling. At the age of nine he rode his first race on a racing bike that was much too big and left the older generations behind. At 20 he won three vuelta- Stages that no one else has managed to do at this age. At 21 years and 365 days he became the second youngest winner in tour history.

"In my opinion, he's the best driver in the world," said Evenepoel recently about his rival, who, like the Belgian, also has a soft spot for difficult one-day races. It is certainly no coincidence that both of them won the difficult spring classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège at a young age. The fight for the rainbow jersey is on.

dpa



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