This Saturday marked fifty years since the murder of Víctor Jara at the Chile Stadium, in Santiago. I remember you Amanda. Life is eternal in five minutes she sang in her most famous song and five minutes have decided the Vuelta a España half a century later. The five minutes it took Sepp Kuss (Jumbo) to cover the last two kilometers of the Angliru, where, on the wet asphalt, the siren sounded and Roglic and Vingegaard left him behind. Life is eternal in five minutes and Kuss had lost the Vuelta but he was going to meet him, with Mikel Landa (Bahrain), who took him to the top and allowed him to save the red jersey by eight seconds.
Kuss’s triumph is perhaps the most unexpected since Marco Giovanetti’s in 1990 and, like that, it has been preceded by a poorly measured escape by the favorites. He did 15 years ago, on the fifth stage on the way to Ubrique and this time, in Javalambre, on the sixth. Both times, with the entire Vuelta ahead. If Delgado, Cabestany, Fabio Parra, Indurain and company, all opponents, miscalculated then, this time things have been stranger since the favorites wear the same jersey as the leader, Vingegaard and Roglic. Those 2:52 at the top of the Teruel astrophysical observatory have been decisive.
Say hard things
Kuss’s iron resistance has given him the triumph of his life. Iron pulse on the road and off it, when after the Angliru stage he imposed his leadership on the team in the crisis cabinet meeting at the concentration hotel. “Sometimes you have to fight for yours and say hard things,” admitted the leader of the Vuelta the next day, when the internal pact took shape at the Cruz de Linares.
Kuss, an excellent cyclist, has defended his position with unusual determination against the two great leaders of the team, whom he has served for the last five years. His status as the best mountain gregarious in the world has made him a millionaire but now, at 29 years old, he changes his status. He has had to impose himself, which, inevitably, will have consequences. He has had to face a very difficult situation, stand up to the egos of two champions and break his will. To do this he had to place the team structure on his side. Roglic, the big loser, has already made it known with elegance and sportsmanship but also clearly that he sees things differently.
Jumbo’s decision to win with Kuss came from Asturias. He sounds the siren, back to work. Vingegaard and Roglic respected the agreement to the letter. The situation in which this renunciation of trying to win the Vuelta leaves one and the other is different. Vingegaard, at 26 years old, faces the decisive phase of his career. With two Tours won, he challenges the hegemony of Tadej Pogacar and can benefit enormously from a happy Kuss at his side. With a Vuelta a España in his track record and a probable update of his contract, the American can be a guarantee for many seasons.
The last two kilometers of Angliru, where Kuss met Mikel Landa, have decided the race
For Roglic, on the other hand, the panorama is different at 33 years old. With a contract with Jumbo until 2025, the Tour is prohibited for him with Vingegaard ahead. He won the Giro d’Italia, but this Vuelta was a central objective of his season. In fact, it will be the only stage event that he has competed in 2023 that he has not won, after winning Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta a Catalunya, Giro d’Italia and Burgos. Although he is a late cyclist because he comes from ski jumping, his career is nearing the end and he has no shortage of offers for a change of scenery. With Vingegaard and Pogacar he is practically the only cyclist who can offer guarantees of winning a big one.
Vingegaard’s victory was substantiated in the five minutes of Angliru, with Landa as a guest star. An intuitive poet, the man from Alava opted for the Vuelta towards the side of romanticism, the public’s favorite. Kuss took his resilience to the extreme on the Asturian colossus and then had to defend his conquest at the table.
a picture for the history
Once the pact was closed, everyone respected it and this Saturday the three arrived together at the finish line in Guadarrama – where Remco Evenepoel (Soudal) was badly surprised in the sprint of the breakaway by Wout Poels (Bahrain) –, composing a photo that recalled that of Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond at the top of Alpe d’Huez in the 1986 Tour. On that occasion, there was no agreement. The ‘Caiman’ tried to execute the American by all possible means, but Lemond resisted and the old Gaul understood that it was time for politics and hugged his enemy-companion.
With a wide smile, Kuss is the winner of the Vuelta a España.
#Life #eternal #minutes