Only four Spanish cyclists will compete in the next Giro d’Italia | Cycling | Sports

Only four Spanish cyclists will compete in the next Giro d’Italia |  Cycling |  Sports

The first stage of the Tour de Romandie takes place in French-speaking Switzerland, between Château d’Oex and Freiburg. A Spaniard, Raúl García Pierna, from Arkéa, stands out in the escape; Another Spaniard, Alex Aranburu, is moving well in the peloton with a view to the final sprint (he finishes seventh; the Frenchman Dorian Godon, from Decathlon, wins, new yellow jersey too), and his Movistar teammate Jorge Arcas is worried about protecting himself from the wind and from the inclement cold (5-6 degrees of thermometer, thermal sensation of 1-2, due to the wind) to its leader, Enric Mas, who aspires to the final victory. The leader of Ineos is another Spaniard, Carlos Rodríguez, for whom Castroviejo and Óscar Rodríguez work. Juan Ayuso is the boss in the UAE and Jesús Herrada in Cofidis. In total, 11 Spanish cyclists in the last big race of a week prior to the Giro d’Italia. The usual number. The normal power of one of the great cycling countries.

However, the numbers seen in the recently published list of participants for the Giro d’Italia (May 4 to 26, from Turin to Rome) tell another story: 22 teams of eight riders (bib number 1, Geraint Thomas, second in 2023; 191 for the great favorite, Tadej Pogacar), 176 cyclists and only four Spaniards, the lowest number since 1986, when the only Spaniard was the Catalan Pedro Muñoz, who finished tenth despite his loneliness in Fagor and in everything. the turn.

Those were the years, which lasted until 1994, in which the Vuelta and the Giro were held in April and May, just four days apart. This calendar mismatch was seen most seriously in 1979, when Unipublic organized the Vuelta for the first time in record time. He managed to bring together 90 participants (a prestigious victory, at least, for the Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk, who the following year would win the Tour) in nine teams of ten riders each, six of them Spanish. Along with established veterans such as Kas or Teka, new entrepreneurs then arrived in the peloton, such as Moliner, Novostil or Transmallorca, who did not have the capacity to sign up for the Italian race later. In 1979, when the very young Giuseppe Saronni first won, there were no Spanish cyclists.

The four of 2024 are Rubén Fernández, a member of Cofidis; Pelayo Sánchez, debutant, and Albert Torres in Movistar, two Spaniards only in the only Spanish team, and Juanpe López, the strong man of Lidl, in shape as he showed last week by winning the Tour of the Alps, lover of the Italian race , as he showed two years ago, with 10 days of pink jersey, final pink jersey and tenth place. “The idea was to bring some more Spaniards, but Pedrero and Romo are injured,” explains Eusebio Unzue, head of Movistar, which will be led by the Colombian Nairo Quintana, still in poor shape after his hard falls in the Volta, with a view to a mountain stage victory, his compatriot Fernando Gaviria, thinking about the sprints, and the Portuguese Rubén Guerreiro. The list is still provisional (in fact, Torres does not appear on it), so there could be changes.

The teams are already multinational, culminating a trend that began with the globalization of the 21st century, the Tour absorbs all its energy and its best cyclists. The best Spaniards, absent Mikel Landa, with a broken collarbone, and some ribs, are precisely Ayuso, Mas and Rodríguez. The three only think about the Tour (June 29 to July 21) and, in any case, if they have enough strength, the Vuelta a España in mid-August. The working class is increasingly open to cyclists of nationalities until recently allergic to cycling. “These numbers reflect the change that has occurred in the peloton. The great gregarious people, the road captains, cyclists with the science of the race in their heads, a role that the Spaniards played perfectly, are disappearing, replaced by cyclists whose watts are only measured, not their job, experience or intelligence. knowing how to be in the platoon and interpret the movements that occur. All the teams have great cyclists with big salaries who try to be gregarious, and they don’t forget to think about the damn points,” adds Unzue, aware that his speech may seem nostalgic. “And there is no longer a need for cyclists to go down to the car to get bottles. Now we have to spend almost more budget on auxiliaries so that every 20 or 30 kilometers we have two on the sidelines supplying gels, bars and bottles to the runners who pass at 70 kilometers per hour, than on cyclists.”

In the first quarter of the 21st century, the average number of Spaniards in the Giro has been 16 per year. The first decade saw the massive peak of Spanish cycling in the corsa rosa, with an average of 21 Spanish riders per Giro and a maximum of 32 in 2006, the year of Operation Puerto, (and 29 in 2005). The following decade, between 2010 and 2019, the average fell to 14.5 Spaniards per year, and in the five years of the current one, from 2020 to 2024, it only reached eight per year.

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2024-04-25 03:15:00
#Spanish #cyclists #compete #Giro #dItalia #Cycling #Sports

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