The Vuelta a San Juan slides its last breaths, where the first swords of cycling have been cited, and in the sixth stage a cyclist in search of pedigree puts on his name. Samuel Welsford, 27-year-old Australian, double Olympic silver and bronze medalist in team pursuit in Rio 16 and Tokio 20, it surprises the sprinters next to the work that makes the inhabitants of San Juan proud: the Vicente Chancay velodrome.
Thanks to sports and investment in promotion, the province of San Juan is placed on the world map. A cycling race with the world champion (Evenepoel), a Tour winner (Egan Bernal), the best sprinters and a powerful leader (‘Supermán’ López) and something else.
The Andean city is finalizing the construction of a UCI-approved velodrome that aspires to host renowned events on the cycling circuit and, as a social function, attract young people to practice the sport and keep them away from the drugs or alcohol.
On the route of the penultimate stage of the Argentine round Egan Bernal retires. The Colombian injured in the knee after a fall in the first stage according to his team (Ineos), abandoning the race one of its main attractions. Cyclist in search of himself, who celebrates being alive more than going back to being a professional and who takes his first pedal strokes of the year.
There is not much else in the sequence of the day, beyond the enthusiasm of the Argentine cyclists to melt their jersey to the breakaways and the event’s animators to cheer on their courage.
Remco Evenepoel, defeated at Alto del Coloradocompletes his objectives in San Juan by rolling at full speed for five kilometers, the last and most demanding, putting the lot in line.
The preparation of the sprint for Jakobsen is unique, because Movistar, incredible but true, keeps the pulse on another train for Gaviria. Jakobsen is not the Cavendish of a few years ago, or the Cipollini of yesteryear. He doesn’t dominate like them.
He throws himself like everyone else to the conquest of victory, but the sprint in San Juan has no owner. The climax is rowdy and imprecise, with Bennet and Gaviria going back to Jakobsen, one of them is supposed to win.
But not. On the left, the Australian Welsford appears like a spark to bring the second victory of his life at 27 years old.