As he did with all the guests with whom he filmed his The dangerous ones, when he began to climb Angliru, Perico Delgado recommended caution to Lionel Scaloni. “Don’t rush at the beginning,” the brilliant Segovian climber told the Argentine coach wholeheartedly, saying that he thought that someone who was a cycling soccer player couldn’t say anything. “This starts off soft, but the end is very hard, there are percentages of 24%” He did not know who the winner of the ’88 Tour was playing in the quarterfinals, who, in addition, he confesses, was not in his best shape the day they recorded the episode, the last Sunday of last March. “The day before he had ridden a ride and had not recovered very well,” confesses Delgado, who calmed down a little when he saw that Scaloni was taking his new bicycle and it took him a while to adapt the saddle to his height. “But I didn’t expect Scaloni to come up so hard, with such intensity, that he even attacked me. He was always half a wheel in front of me, and I matched him and I thought that in Cueña les Cabres, where 24%, he was going to stay, but no, we got there and not only did he keep taking off half a wheel, but he left ahead and when he saw that he had left me he stopped, turned around and went back up to my pace…”
The coach who led Messi’s Argentina to win the World Cup in Qatar in December arrived at Angliru, already at the recording of the television sketch that TVE broadcast shortly before the greats of the world squad approached him in the Vuelta, almost on the rebound. . Delgado first tried it with Luis Enrique, PSG’s coach for a couple of months, and a renowned fanatical cycle tourist, crazy about epic bicycle challenges as well. The Asturian, however, did not agree, nor did Marcelino, the OM coach. It was then that José Casla, the Giant bicycle man in the Iberian Peninsula, and a good friend, told him why he didn’t invite Scaloni, and told him how the Argentine soccer player started riding a bicycle when he retired from soccer and didn’t. I knew what to do with the hours. He convinced him to try the bicycle Carlos Moyá, the former Roland Garros winning tennis player who had returned to the island to train Rafa Nadal, a fan of agonizing pedal effort.
“My love for the bicycle is very simple,” explains Scaloni in a WhatsApp message from Argentina. “When I stopped playing, in 2015, I met Charlie [Carlos Moyá] at school and he told me, come cycling, and I told him, what’s the point of cycling, if I don’t like it… And it was trying the bicycle and not giving it up anymore.”
Scaloni gave cycling with so much enthusiasm, daily mountain bike outings or gravel for an hour and a half at full speed, at full speed, it didn’t take long before he was left alone. Nobody could stand his rhythm or his way of interpreting the effort. Neither did Perico, who had to surrender to the footballer-cyclist.
Also in Argentina, Scaloni, now 45 years old, continues to go out on his bicycle. He does it in one gravel, and enjoys the endless gravel roads, immense plains, that surround his town of Pujato, province of Santa Fe. “It’s like that. The bicycle helps me a lot for my head. It relaxes me… well, many things and, in addition, you compete against yourself and that is essential. It’s something we did throughout our lives, competing at high levels, because now after being old you compete against yourself. It’s the best thing that can happen to you. Cycling is exciting.”
When he was notified from Spain that he was appearing on TV uploading Angliru, the Argentine national team apologized. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t see it,” he said. “I had a game in Bolivia. “We had to win in La Paz.”
Once the climb was over, without a winner – the recording required certain shots to be repeated and the former Racing, Depor and Mallorca footballer was left with the frustration of not having been able to ascend at once to register his time on Strava alongside that of the best -, Scaloni, Like cyclists before, he didn’t even shower. Delgado rubbed his sweaty body with a mitten soaked in cologne, like masseuses did, and together they stopped in a town to eat a fabada. And to toast
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