Tour de France: Vinokourov's enthusiasm for the Spaniards

Tour de France: Vinokourov's enthusiasm for the Spaniards

Tuesday,
9
July
2019

23:41

This year 13 Spaniards dispute the Tour de France, a third of them run in the Kazakh Astana

The cyclists of Astana Fraile, Luis Len Snchez, Fuglsang and Izagirre.
AFP

At Tour of 2003, the fifth won by Lance Armstrong Before it was decided that there really was not one, Spanish cycling made its historic peak of participation. 43 runners, more than 20% of the total, they had dorsal in the edition that commemorates the centenary of the French round. It was the time of the Eleven, Banesto, Kelme and Euskaltel, so wonderful for some things, so cursed for others. 16 years later, with Movistar as the only national squad in the field, just 13 Spanish cyclists cross the French roads. And five of them do it in the squadron of Eusebio Unzu: Landa, Valverde, Verona, Erviti and Soler.

Spanish cycling, to his dismay, has become accustomed to this being his real situation in a sport already hyperglobalized. Take as an example that in this Tour cyclists of 30 different nationalities take part and that in the UCI World Tour there are up to 45 passes. The Spaniards appear scattered by the teams. In this Tour, apart from the Movistar, they appear More in the Deceuninck, Castroviejo in the Ineos, Garca Cortina in Bahrain, Herrada in the Cofidis … And, suddenly, four in the Astana.

Are Luis Len Snchez, Pello Bilbao, Omar Fraile and Gorka Izagirre, all of them gregarious faithful of Jakob Fuglsang, the bruised leader in the first stage who aspires to give the bell and crown his extraordinary season with a position on the podium in Paris. To them it adds, this time from television, Ion Izagirre, resting after helping the Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez in the Giro. But there is more. In the structure of the Kazakh squad nine other Spaniards coexist: four masseurs (Vicente Belda, Ibai Jimnez, Juan Pujol and Alejandro Vzquez), two mechanics (Javier Manero and Jos Rodrguez), two coaches (Ivn Velasco and Aritz Arberas) and a doctor (Raquel Ortolero). Movistar aside, Astana, based in Kazakhstan, is undoubtedly the most Spanish team of the first cyclist division.

The attempt to sign Landa

TO Alexandre Vinokourov, mandams of the squad, always excited the Spanish cyclists. In fact, the past year I tried to recruit Mikel Landa (who already had under his orders in 2014 and 2015), but the cold defense of the contract signed for this year that made Movistar avoided the reunion. It would have been the sixth Spanish of one of the best teams of the pelotn in this 2019, with 30 victories, the fourth in the world ranking. Of these, 10 have carried the stamp of a Spaniard.

In this Tour, runners like Bilbao or Fraile will surely receive some opportunity to seek glory, but their most important mission is to protect Fuglsang to the maximum. Something they did again at Tuesday's stage, won by Elia Viviani to the sprint, in which the favorites for the general had little to gain and much to lose. Wednesday and Thursday, with the arrival to the Vosges, the film will be very different.

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(tagsToTranslate) sports / cycling (t) Tour de France (t) sport – cycling (t) World Tour (t) Movistar (t) Ion Izagirre (t) Mikel Landa (t) squad

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