Remco Evenepoel has drawn fresh comparisons with Belgian compatriot and cycling royalty Eddy Merckx following a dominant ride at the Coppa Bernocchi.
The 21-year-old claimed his 22nd career victory with yet another exhibition of his ability to get out, and then stay out in front when he finished over two minutes ahead of Alessandro Covi in northern Italy.
After powering a breakaway to a five-minute lead and then leapfrogging those he had dragged to the front, the win in Legnano showed that not only is he a rider with a penchant for just about every area of cycling but he is starting to rack up the kind of numbers that made Merckx so commanding.
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“At 21 years old, eight months and nine days he’s got those 21 wins. At the same age, Eddy Merckx had 15.” said Daniel Lloyd on Eurosport commentary.
“So let the comparisons continue.”
The ‘Little Cannibal’, an ode to the nickname Merckx earned in a period of dominance spanning the sixties and seventies, claimed his status as one of the peloton’s most explosive riders with wins in both the individual time trial and road race at the 2018 European Junior Road Cycling Championships in Austria.

Coppa Bernocchi : Highlights as Evenepoel produces dominant solo effort

After winning the road race by a split of nine minutes and 44 seconds with another dominating solo run that has quick become his signature, he arrived in Zaventem Airport in Brussels to waiting Belgian crowds, excited to get a glimpse of their new cycling totem.
That kind of fervour is saved for only the best in Belgian and comparisons were always inevitable.
The young Belgian is already acutely aware of his elder’s work, but has been reluctant to take what has been dubbed ‘constructive criticism’ by Merckx.
After the men’s road race at Tokyo 2020 where Evenepoel played domestique to team-leader Wout van Aert, Merckx told Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad that Evenepoel "rides mainly for himself" and dressed down the young rider.
"He always has to say something and that's a shame," Evenepoel said of Merckx in September.
"I have a lot of respect for Eddy and apparently that is not mutual. I look up to him and admire him for his record and his achievements.
"I'm not at the start in order to screw over the team. That never entered my mind – I'm just going to do my best."
Merckx was reserved with his praise and has prodded Evenepoel for a perceived arrogance despite Evenepoel’s involvement in every move, chase and climb at this year’s World Championship road race – despite Belgium missing out on a medal.
The fact the two are already in discourse has fuelled the fire and is filling up column inches in Belgium and beyond the numbers, their refusal to kowtow both on and off the bike just means that Belgian cycling fans have even more reason to see the old fire in their new poster-boy.
Next up for Evenepoel is a return to the Il Lombardia, a race that forced him to take six months out from the sport recovering from a fractured pelvis and a bruised lung last August.
He had won all four stage races he had started in 2020 before the accident and had been pencilled in to lead the Deceuninck-Quickstep team at the Giro d’Italia.
Saturday’s Il Lombardia is the final World Tour race of 2021 and one that Evenepoel will be targeting for another win.
After such a dominant win against high-grade competition, he will take some stopping.
Any comparisons to the greatest ever to ride only look set to grow.
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