Race leader Remco Evenepoel showed signs of pressure during stage 12 of the Vuelta a España on Thursday, complaining to a race marshal after crashing in a corner on a descent.
The Belgian rider crashed into the inside for the final 60 kilometers of the stage, slipping into a right-hander while behind the wheel of several teammates. His fall was very reminiscent of that of his teammate Julian Alaphilippe on Wednesday, who fell in a similar way.
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Alaphilippe was not seriously injured, with small cuts and a large tear in his shorts being the only visible signs of the fall. However, he appeared agitated after the accident, speaking animatedly to a team official when changing bikes and then, while continuing, appearing to protest to a race marshal for several seconds.
The source of his irritation was unclear. No other team was close to him back then.
However, in a post-race interview, he gave a hint as to what might have been bothering him. “It was a super slippery corner. The motorcycles also slipped and slowed down. That’s why I actually wanted to cut the corner, but it was a bit too much.
“Sorry for my words, but shit happens.”
There had been suggestions on social media that he might have been frustrated with the motorbikes.
Evenepoel’s rivals – who are always looking for weaknesses – can hope that the pressure of the red jersey starts to weigh on him. He is only 22 years old, takes part in the second grand tour of his career and wears the leader’s jersey for the first time in a three-week race.
The Belgian looked relieved on arrival and shrugged it off when asked about the damage.
“Just my leg, but that’s okay,” he said. “My bike is much worse than me.
“Now I will just tend to the injuries and try to recover tomorrow, because it will be a sprint stage.”
. Vuelta España Remco Evenepoel shows of signs pressure after fall