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Remco Evenepoel has been one of the revelations of the 2020 season, but his year may well be remembered for his horrific crash at Il Lombardia rather than his multiple wins.
Less than a week after fracturing his pelvis and bruising a lung after plunging into a ravine, Evenepoel has taken his first tentative steps in a Belgian hospital. A video posted by Deceuninck-QuickStep showed the 20-year-old taking small and agonising steps, supported by crutches.
He should have been racing for glory at the Belgian National Championships this afternoon, but @EvenepoelRemco has his own time trial – and knowing his amazing determination and willpower – we are confident he will win it.#TheWolfpackNeverGivesUp pic.twitter.com/8l6w2Na9S6
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) August 20, 2020
For a crash that was so visceral, Evenepoel’s recovery has been impressively prompt, allaying concerns that the Belgian’s career will be negatively impacted long-term. In a statement issued after the incident, Evenepoel said that he was “doing very well”, and although his season had come to a premature end, he and his team would make the use of the recovery time to plan a good comeback.
“We are already looking forward to next season,” Evenepoel said. “We have no rush, and we will take it really slow and really calm and we are looking forward to next season. We will do everything to become a better rider, and have a comeback stronger than ever before.”
Deceuninck-QuickStep’s team doctor, Yvan Vanmol, outlined the steps in Evenepoel’s recovery early this week, telling Belgian radio that the team was planning for a prolonged recovery. “We suppose six weeks of total rest, resting flat on the bed, with another few weeks on top of that before he can start cycling again,” Vanmol said. “For the moment we don’t believe an operation will be necessary.”
Evenepoel crashed on the technical descent of the Muro di Sormano, late in Il Lombardia, a race that Evenepoel entered as one of the favourites. Before that season-ending crash, the Belgian prodigy had enjoyed the most successful season of any WorldTour rider, winning four stage races. Among those victories was an emotional, combative Tour of Poland title that he dedicated to teammate Fabio Jakobsen who crashed heavily on the race’s opening stage.
As this latest video has shown, even in his convalescence, Evenepoel continues to exceed his team’s expectations.