Even when resting, Pogacar stops winning stages in the Giro d’Italia | Cycling | Sports

Tadej Pogacar’s fifth stage victory came on the day the peloton said enough, a change of era.

Maybe in his vocation, in his desire to be a professional cyclist and ride the Giro, the Tour, to be great, as a child, the images of another era, of his myths challenging the snow on Mount Bondone 1956, Charly Gaul, frozen , carried to the queen’s chair, snowflakes in the hair and the frozen hands of Perico in the Gavia 1988, had a decisive influence, but in the third decade of the 21st century, there are very few, perhaps none, who accept that to be a cyclist is to be a slave to the road, a worker forced to ingest miraculous, dangerous, prohibited substances, to endure inhuman tasks that leave the petite bourgeois spectator admiring on the sofa with his mouth open. The cyclist is now a high-performance athlete, delicate and wonderful, 200 days away from home, bored in endless concentrations in lonely mountains, which, at the exit from Livigno, low degrees, lots of rain, snow at more than 2,300m, He refuses to obey the organizer, whom he despises for his brutality and stubbornness, dinosaurs of the old days, and, relying on the bad weather protocol, he manages to modify the planned route and cross by car the Umbrail Pass, 2,500 meters, halfway up the Stelvio, where it snows and the temperature does not exceed two degrees. They take the exit, definitively, at kilometer 80, at 890 meters above sea level, where it is raining heavily, where, downhill to the first steep slopes of the Passo Pinei, the Movistar takes the lead. The stage remains at 120 kilometers at full speed. Gaviria, the splendid and out of shape sprinter, does not win stages but works hard to keep close the escape of the inevitable Alaphilippe and that of his friend Maestri along with another couple. Objective, to win the stage with his Colombian Einer Rubio, a farmer from Boyacá, and for this Nairo Quintana works on the way to the top of Mount Pana, the Val Gardena viewpoint with views of Sassolungo, the gateway to the Dolomites, 1,625 meters after 6.5 kilometers at 7% with sections of 16%.

That Nairo is the protagonist, gregarious with his compatriot Rubio until he succumbs, in the stage cut short by the new airs of the peloton, it is more symbolic than ironic. The Colombian represents ancient cycling better than anyone else, from another era, the one that we want to forget. He won the 2014 Giro on a wild stage over a similar route, Gavia and Stelvio in snow, Val Martello in the sun. No climb was cancelled, the queen stage was not shortened. In the last meters of the Stelvio, half frozen, Nairo wanted to get off the bike, but his partner Gorka Izagirre forced him to think, made him stop before finishing, helped him change his clothes, gave him food with his own hands in the mouth. Nairo recovered. He launched himself determinedly into the descent, where Rigo Urán, his rival, slowed down, and Nairo was still on the run last Sunday, on his return to the Corsa Rosa seven years after finishing second to Tom Dumoulin. He could have won if it had not been for Pogacar overtaking him at full speed, his gaze fixed on his on-board computer, like someone who trains obediently without wanting to do more than his turn. “I didn’t think. He was only controlling to maintain the speed that he knew he could maintain for the last half hour,” Pogacar later explained, the bases of the technological epic. The calculation that replaces excess. “When I don’t have the computer it is more uncomfortable, I have to be thinking all the time so as not to overdo it.”

In the rain towards Val Gardena, calmly, Pogacar and his UAE let things go. The third week, the zeal and the earth, the sea and the animals, the flowers and the mountains, rested. Neither Thomas nor Martínez nor O’Connor, the trio seeking the podium, say anything. They just wait. They keep waiting. Then, sweetly, without hardly changing the pace, when everyone moves away, friend Majka stands in front. Behind, the Pogacar rose. Two kilometers left. The escape is doomed. Also the Movistar, dry. “We wanted to rest and let things happen, but…” admits Pogacar.

At 1,300, the rose attack. Short sleeve. Without gloves. Sweet pedaling. Caress of the pedals and the corner of the eye on the computer. The dream of Pellizzari, the last of the escapees, breaks into pieces 800 meters from the gray massif of the impassive Dolomites under the cloudy sky. Even when he rests, Pogacar doesn’t stop winning, as if he couldn’t help it. And he celebrates it, fatalistically, counting on the fingers of his right hand, one of his, Oropa; two, Perugia; three, Perugia; four, Livigno; five, Monte Pana… five stage victories, a pink jersey. He rings the bell. Martínez moves and catches Pellizzari. He only loses 16s, plus six bonuses, but overtakes the Welshman Thomas in the general standings, who like O’Connor gives up 49s (+ 10s bonus). The Colombian is already 7m 18s away; the Welsh, at 7m 40s. There are five stages left.

The epic of sweetness does not create rivals but admirers. The defeated Pellizzari, the 20-year-old from Marche who wants to be Scarponi, a climber as thin and tall as a stalk, does not cry, but exults like a fan at the end of the stage. He approaches the Slovenian and shyly asks him to give him his pink glasses. Pogacar, smiling, gives it to him, and also his sweaty pink jersey, and receives a hug in return on his semi-naked torso, and a few words out loud, a fan’s “you’re the best” a la Tina Turner repeated three, four times , excited. And then she shows him a photo, “look at her, she tells him, Strade Bianche 2019″. And in it are him, Pellizari, the young man who loses his eyes for him, at 15, and he, Pogacar, 19 and already there. “He was a child,” Pogacar says. “And me too… What memories.”

“We didn’t even plan to go for the stage,” confesses Majka, “but when Movistar stopped pulling [Rubio, finalmente, no tenía las buenas piernas que creía tener] and we saw that we were ahead, we said, why not? And Tadej told me to go and win the stage, but I told him that he couldn’t, that he had been working and was tired.”

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2024-05-21 16:30:50
#resting #Pogacar #stops #winning #stages #Giro #dItalia #Cycling #Sports

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