‘Deep bow, Remco! Congratulations! Chapeau!!!’, Renaat gave a foretaste of the Remcomania before falling into a frenzy.

‘Go quietly to the toilet’, José De Cauwer advised us after Remco Evenepoelhad run off with a Kazakh in his wheel, although immediately throwing afterit: ‘But take your television with you!’ Thirty kilometers later we sawEvenepoel on that television as the new world champion cycling on the road.Where we were then is nobody’s business.

Jan HauspieSunday 25 September 202212:00

Evenepoel’s ultimate attack – which, as usual with him, was no attack: he justpushed a little harder on the pedals – took place in the penultimate lap. Thattiming was predicted by most experts: “Usually a World Cup is decided in thelast two rounds,” he said. Dirk De Wolf in Humo. Evenepoel, not only afellow countryman of De Wolf, but apparently also a Humolese, quickly droveaway from Alexey Lutsenko and went into the final round solo. “If hecrosses the finish line the last time before the finish line with a two-minutelead, they won’t see him again,” he said. Karl Vannieuwkerke. He wasright. Almost two and a half minutes later sprinted Wout van Aert for thesilver, but finished fourth.

“I don’t think I will ever have a better season,” Evenepoel said afterwards,remarkably controlled. That serenity is perhaps the greatest metamorphosisthat the child prodigy from Schepdaal has undergone in the past year. Withoutsharp edges, he is again the spontaneous boy who wishes you every success.’There will be no criticism here,’ said mother agna to the Sporza reporterwho had gone to the supporters cafe of the new world champion. With that shereferred to last year’s World Cup in Leuven. Evenepoel broke the course openfrom much too far and guided Julian Alaphilippe so in a seat to the worldtitle. That got him a lot of criticism. Justifiable criticism, because if hethen raced in Australia as he does now, Wout van Aert in particular would havehad better chances of winning in Leuven. With the rainbow win in Wollongong,Evenepoel has now finally settled that discussion in his favor.

Van Aert finished just outside the medals. Just as Evenepoel Lutsenko brokeloose, he accelerated in the background. A striking effort that could count onlittle understanding from De Cauwer: ‘Van Aert must check, this is against therules of the game!’ According to Van Aert, he did not know how far Evenepoeldrove ahead and how many riders separated him from his compatriot. He didn’teven know that he was sprinting for a medal. The handshake with Evenepoel washearty, and it was even a joke. But they didn’t hug each other – in view ofthe cameras anyway. Evenepoel has already won his first world title – he is 22- time is running out for Van Aert – 28.

The question, raised by Evenepoel himself, remains whether he will ever drivea better season. With someone who mocks all the current theories, anything ispossible. Earlier this season, Evenepoel won a monument (Liège-Bastogne-Liège), a Grand Tour (the Vuelta) and now the rainbow jersey. Only threeriders did that before him: Bernard Hinault , Eddy Merckx and anItalian almost 100 years ago. The last to combine a Grand Tour win with theworld title was Greg LeMond in 1989 – he then won the Tour. The fact thatEvenepoel also took the World Cup bronze in the time trial, barely one weekafter he won the Vuelta, went against every current theory about fitness andjet lag processing.


2022 will be a year not to forget for Evenepoel, with his marriage to fiancélater on Oumi. The ‘Remcomania’ will only increase in strength. RenaatSchotte gave a foretaste: ‘Deep bow! Congratulations! Cheers!’ he concludedhis interview with the new world champion with three exclamation marks beforefalling out of the picture in a swoon. “It’s sport, it’s entertainment!”Earlier during the race, Vannieuwkerke had already let himself go in a bizarreattack against the Dutch who find his reporting too chauvinistic. As long ashe keeps calling Remco Evenepoel.

Ten years after Philippe Gilbert – who will ride his last professionalrace in two weeks – Belgium has another world champion on the road. WhetherEvenepoel will give up on it ten years after his world title, like Gilbert, isa question that cannot be answered now. Should he wish to appropriate theepithet ‘Merckxian’, he will be able to use it every year. Merckx won 525races in his career, Evenepoel is at 38. Go, Rem… Evenepoel!