I feel your pain, my Belgian brother.
I watched you in the second Giro d’Italia time trial where you looked uncharacteristically exhausted. Like you’d suddenly aged 10 years.
Your Soudal Quickstep team could tell something was wrong. Your parents could see you were laboring, lacking your usual power and panache. Somehow, someway you managed to wring yourself inside and out and beat Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) by a measly second.
But it wasn’t the 45 seconds to a minute the experts thought you’d take out of Thomas and Primoz Roglic. What’s up, doc?
And then the positive Covid 19 test and then goodbye to winning the Giro. Jump in the car for the long, deflating 10 hour drive. Plenty of time to ponder the vicissitudes of fate and a stack of what-ifs.
I know how you feel buddy. Because just yesterday I went out on a 2.5 hour ride with a guy that weighs 45 pounds less than me. His lightweight road bike must be pounds less than my steel travel bike with rack and wider tires.
We did a nice big loop around the leafy suburbs of Philadelphia. Every single time the road went up, off he went. I’d grind up, shoulders rocking, no snap in the legs. I’d done this ride before — why was I so tired?
Things got worse when I got home. I had a pounding headache and full body aches and a stuffy nose. I maybe slept 30 minutes the entire night and woke up feeling just as awful. I fired up cyclingnews to discover you’d flunked the Covid test and your Giro hopes were over.
By the afternoon, thinking about Evenepoel, I got out two home Covid tests. In the three years of the pandemic, I’d never gotten Covid. Both tests were positive. Shit and shit.
Some of my social calendar for later in the week was wiped out. I may or may not test negative by the weekend. Which pissed me off — but then again, I haven’t been training and racing and doing altitude camps for 9 months. My loses are pretty small.
I know you’ll be back and winning big again, Remco. Covid is a bitch.