The Danish achieved his third victory in Talavera de la Reina ahead of the British Wright, against whom the Slovenian charged
It is easy to imagine Primoz Roglic in his living room jumping for joy when he saw Danish Mads Pedersen win the Talavera de la Reina sprint. Cast? Roglic, who suffered a fall in the Tomares stage on Tuesday and had to retire, can barely walk yet. He is still very dented. Pedersen is not on his team, but the Slovenian was with him. Why? He did not want the other who was fighting for victory to win, the British Fred Wright. While the day was played, Roglic put the accusing finger on Wright, whom he accuses of having caused his accident. «It was not good. It shouldn’t have happened. There are cyclists who overtake you as if nothing could happen. I am not so. I don’t want this to be the path that cycling takes,” he denounced.
Roglic, through a statement from his team, the Jumbo, charged against the British runner. “The way the fall happened is unacceptable. The accident was not caused by a bad road or a lack of safety, but by the behavior of a cyclist. I have no eyes on my back. Otherwise I would have gone astray. Wright came up behind me and snatched the handlebars out of my hands before I knew it.” The images of that arrival do not clarify how the stumble happened. Roglic saw it that way. And, despite the bandages and the pain that he still carries, surely he jumped when he saw how Pedersen beat the cyclist he accuses. He relished the Great Dane’s third victory as if it were his own.
One day after the death of Isabel II, Talavera de la Reina was the start and the finish line. Go and come back. Before leaving, there was a question: how is Carlos Rodríguez doing after Thursday’s crash? Present. The young Andalusian, his skin red from so many abrasions, was still in the race. “These are occupational hazards,” he repeated with the tone of a veteran. He is 21 years old, he is sixth in the classification of his first Vuelta and the leader of a team of the stature of Ineos. One of his teammates, Tao Geoghegan Hart, the winner of the 2020 Giro d’Italia, defined Carlos Rodríguez’s character in this way: «There is no tougher guy than him. He keeps fighting. My back is screwed up, but it doesn’t even occur to me to complain when I see Carlos suffer like this ». The newcomer is already an example. The future awaits you with open arms. He has physical talent and is a rock. This Vuelta has placed him, along with Juan Ayuso, on the front page of the showcase.
From Talavera came the penultimate stage for those who live from escapes. Short and with two climbs to the port of Piélago, second category. McNulty, Okamika and Caicedo got the breakaway right. Craddock, Bizkarra and Harper arrived late, when that train had already passed. But it was a journey without destination. The Trek team, Pedersen’s, pulled from the peloton. They are a group convinced of the strength of their Danish leader. He had won the Montilla stage and before also winning the Tomares stage he gathered his gregarious. He showed them the profile of the goal that day, on a slope, and told them: «There is no one better than me in a finish like this. If you give 100 percent, I promise you a win.” He complied. That is a leader. The Trek always had McNulty, Biscayan Okamika and Caicedo within range.
And, on top of that, in the second passage through the port of Piélago, Bahrain took their side. She had Mikel Landa shot. The man from Alava crossed out almost all the sprinters in favor of his, Fred Wright’s. They were looking for a duel with Pedersen. Landa did his job and drowned greyhounds like Ackerman and Groves. He had to go down to Talavera, wander around and open the sprint fight. The Trek placed Pedersen and was unfazed by a sprint from Scotson in the final kilometer. Wright, the accused by Roglic, was fixed to Pedersen’s wheel. And there he stayed. He was unable to trace the Dane. In his house, surely the injured Slovenian missed a couple of stitches in the celebration.
The great stage arrives
This Vuelta, which already seems to be in the hands of Remco Evenepoel, leader with 2.07 over Enric Mas and more than five minutes over Ayuso and ‘Superman’ López, has the Sierra de Guadarrama stage left. Watch out. Sometimes she becomes a magician’s top hat and there are surprises. Like when in 1985 ‘Perico’ Delgado, accompanied by Pepe Recio, stole the win from the clueless Robert Millar there. Or, more recently, as in 2015 on that funeral day for Tom Dumoulin. The Dutchman took his victory for granted. Left over. He paid it.
His rival was Fabio Aru’s Astana. Conjured team. One of the domestiques, Vanotti, had had a very bad night, with a bone fracture. painful. Astana announced his withdrawal, but the Italian showed up at breakfast. “I can’t miss a day like this,” he said. He was limping. Silence at the table. The gesture moved the group. He lit the flame. Go for Dumoulin, leader with only six seconds over Aru.
Mikel Landa was then in charge of knocking down the Dutchman in La Morcuera. Unbuttoned, with his claws under the handlebars, the rider from Alava changed the name of the winner of the Vuelta. He first drowned Dumoulin and then, when Aru, Quintana and Majka already had a few meters of advantage, Landa executed the Dutch leader. He clinched him and took Chaves and ‘Purito’ with him. He isolated Dumoulin. He buried him 40 kilometers from the finish line. Aru won the Vuelta. “This win belongs to the team,” Aru shared. La Vuelta 2022 is decided on that stage, in Navacerrada, Morcuera and Cotos, the last fences for Evenepoel; the last bullets of Enric Mas.