• Remco Evenepoel holds up the race number of severely injured teammate Fabio Jakobsen in tribute after a solo victory at the Tour of Poland (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quickstep) pulled off the most impressive of his WorldTour wins to date, jumping clear of the peloton with 51 kilometres remaining in Stage 4 of the Tour of Poland and increasing his lead all the way into the finish line in Bukowina Tatrzańska.
By
SBS Cycling Central

9 Aug - 11:00 AM 

It was a sombre celebration of Evenepoel's stunning victory, as he pulled teammate Fabio Jakobsen's race number from his pocket and displayed it while crossing the finish line a minute and 48 seconds ahead of his nearest rival. Jakobsen had been part of a horrific crash during Stage 1 of the Tour of Poland and is currently in hospital.

"This celebration was actually already in my mind yesterday," said Evenepoel, "so I just wanted to take Fabio's number in case of winning.

"This morning I asked the press officer to fix me a number of Fabio. From the moment I had it in my hands, I felt something special in my mind and my body.

"I said 'ok, no matter how hard it will be, I will just fight to the end and keep going. I will be suffering but Fabio is suffering much more…' that gave me the energy."

Evenepoel's attack came after the break of the day, containing among others Australians Nathan Haas (Cofidis), James Whelan (EF Education First) and Chris Harper (Jumbo-Visma), had been reeled back into a reduced chasing peloton. 

A few half-hearted moves had been launched and neutralised, but Evenpoel's bid with 51 kilometres remaining was set to last. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe) eventually jumped clear of a poorly-cooperating peloton with 36 kilometres left, though Evenepoel was 45 seconds ahead by this point.

"I saw everybody suffering, me as well, and I thought 'now is the time, if I take 2-3 guys with me, it's perfect, the race will be done'," said Evenepoel. "But nobody could follow and then I quite quickly gained a gap of 30 seconds.

"I kept going because I knew that in the peloton only one guy was pulling, so it was me against him. With the number in my back I didn't feel tired, my energy was there and never went away. It really gave me energy for this 51 kilometres."

The time gap would only continue to grow into the finish and the 20-year-old crossed the line with a massive one minute and 48 second margin over second-placed Fuglsang, with Yates a further 34 seconds behind in third.

Evenpoel holds a commanding one minute and 52 second lead heading into the final stage of the Tour of Poland, which - if he holds on to win - will be his fourth stage race win from four in 2020 after overall wins at Vuelta San Juan, Volta Algarve and Vuelta a Burgos.