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Grand Place welcome planned for Belgian cycling champion Remco Evenepoel
Having been newly crowned the world cycling champion, Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel will be making an appearance on the balcony of Brussels city hall, overlooking the Grand Place, next Sunday (2 October).
Evenepoel will greet spectators at around 15.00, the mayor and the city’s sports alderman announced on Twitter, though further details have yet to be released.
Originally from Schepdaal in Flemish Brabant, 22-year-old Evenepoel won the world road cycling championship in Wollongong, Australia on Sunday.
In the same season, he also won the Liège-Bastogne-Liège race and the Tour of Spain, La Vuelta. Evenepoel is only the fourth rider in history to have won a Monument (one of the five biggest classics), a Grand Tour and the World Championship in the same year.
The last time a Belgian took home the world title was 10 years ago, when Philippe Gilbert won the rainbow jersey.
“It's a great victory,” commented Eddy Merckx, who is regarded as one of the most successful riders in the history of competitive cycling.
“It's great for Belgium. And for him, it's extraordinary. To wear the rainbow jersey at 22 years of age is amazing.”
Merckx had high praise for Evenepoel’s performance in the world championships, calling it “an impeccable race” and noting the strong dynamic of the Belgian team.
“There was a very good spirit in the Belgian team,” Merckx said. “The hug with Wout van Aert is proof that the Belgian team was very close.”
People are speculating as to whether Evenepoel will compete in the Tour de France next year, pointing out that while Evenepoel is still young, having won La Vuelta indicates he could be ready for the challenge.
Evenepoel has never been a stranger to competitive cycling – his father Patrick Evenepoel was also a racing cyclist and won the 1993 Grand Prix de Wallonie.