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Remco Evenepoel takes Criterium du Dauphine lead with time-trial triumph

Evenepoel celebrates his win
Evenepoel celebrates his winAFP
World champion Remco Evenepoel (24) offered a glimpse of his potential Tour de France form by taking the overall lead at the Criterium du Dauphine on Wednesday with a pulsating time-trial win.

Two months after breaking a shoulder Belgian Evenepoel won the 34km individual effort in the eight-day Criterium by 17 seconds from Briton Josh Tarling and 39 seconds ahead of Primoz Roglic.

The trio should also be medal hopes at the Paris Olympics time-trial.

Roglic and Evenepoel however are seen as rivals to Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar at the upcoming Tour de France, where two tough time-trials, one on gravel and the other a final day slog across the Monaco to Nice corniche, stand in the way of any winner.

Evenepoel said he was both relieved and proud to find his form.

"It's been quite a long way. Three weeks of almost no bike and then only four weeks of training, so to be at this level already is a good sign towards the Tour," said the Soudal Quick Step leader, who was decked out in his time-trial world champion rainbow jersey.

"Now we go day by day and we will see what we can achieve in this race," he added.

With a blockbuster weekend of climbing in the Alps ahead Evenepoel leads Roglic by 33 seconds in the overall standings with Paris-Nice champion Matteo Jorgenson of Visma in third at one minute and seven seconds.

Other potential winners Spaniards Juan Ayuso of UAE at 1min 27sec and Carlos Rodriguez of Ineis at 1min 41 lurk slightly lower down the standings awaiting the mountain challenges.

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