Tour of Spain 2022 | Le Tourmalet: here is the couple of the century

It had never, ever happened. It is, for now, the great news of the Vuelta. Two boys in power, two very young riders who want to conquer the cycling world and who pedal with the future at their feet. There was a time when a new corridor appeared on the panorama of the cycling español. He arrived surrounded by veterans who, knowing the class he treasured, protected him while he grew up among the platoon. At that time, tradition dictated that with a few more years than Carlos Rodríguez and Juan Ayuso now have, they should be instructed first in minor races that never went beyond the week of competition.

But from there to running the Vuelta there was a world. And these two guys come and suddenly settle in the ‘top ten’ of the race to make the spectator enjoy, not only thinking about this race that ends in two weeks, but in many years of the best cycling to eliminate any suspicion that any past time was better, at least the last decade, and always saving the unrepeatable stage of Miguel Indurain. As for couples, Induran debuted in the Vuelta and Tour at the age of 20, but peter slim He was already 25 by then.

a new cycling

Current cycling has nothing to do with what was practiced 10 years ago without going any further back in time. A decade ago it would have been unthinkable not only that Rodríguez (21 years old) and Ayuso (19) debuted at the same time in the Vuelta, but Tadej Pogacar, with 23, already had two Tours in the record or Remco Evenepoel, with 22, was now the leader of the Vuelta.

The exceptions are minimal and in the Spanish case, in terms of grand tour winners, only cases of Induran y Contador in the last 40 years.

Before, experience was acquired by accumulating hours on the bike and kilometers on the legs. Now he trains much less and everything is more measured and studied in relation to the body of the runner. So why wait to give these guys a chance after Jonas Vingegaard’s 25th birthday? That they sign up for the Vuelta and that they enjoy themselves, to the point that if day X arrives, as he said Ayuso this week, nothing will happen. Let them take away what they danced.

Valverde and Contador

Because, in addition, there was a time when there was always a young Spanish cyclist knocking on the door of fame. They did, without going back much in time, Alexander Valverde o Alberto counter. But two? Two debuting and shining in the Vuelta is a dream come true.

Contador, for example, already began to stand out when he was just 20 years old. But it wasn’t until he was 22 that he took part in his first three-week race, in this case the Tour. Valverde It was at the age of 22 when he made his debut in the Vuelta and the following year he already finished in third position. However, they arrived staggered. There was no occasion to bring the pair together in a three-week race so that they could move up next to or very close to the Primoz Roglic on duty.

The Ineos, team of Rodríguez, was very clear from the beginning of the season that the young rider from Almuñécar would make his debut in the Vuelta. There was even a moment of the season that he considered taking him to the Tour, especially after Egan Bernal was dropped by accident. The set-up and the good feelings that he was accumulating Geraint Thomasin the third place in Paris, they knocked down the project, although along the way Rodríguez he won a stage in Itzulia and was proclaimed champion of Spain.

future plans

The UAE, the set of Ayusowanted his first year as a professional to pass more calmly, in the old-fashioned way, but already in June, at the Spanish championship held in Mallorca, Joxean Fernández ‘Matxín’, director of the squad, met with the cyclist and The possibility of him going to the Vuelta was already raised, especially if in the end Pogacarexhausted by the Tour, crossed out the Spanish round of his calendar, as it happened.

And now here we have them shining at the Vuelta and happily looking to the future, with the horizon of a Tour where they may already be present Rodríguez next year, a race that will surely have to wait a little longer to see in action Ayuso due to the need that the UAE has to form a more veteran team around Pogacar in his attempt to return to Paris dressed in yellow next year, just as he did in 2020 and 2021.


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