Something always happens when you get to Caravaca. Almost 20 years ago, Valverde, a figure with a future at the time, crashed, the peloton stopped so as not to take advantage, but the solitary escapee did not stop, the American David Zabriskie, the psychedelic friend of Floyd Landis -that cyclist who listened to Pink Floyd and began to produce medical cannabis after losing a Tour due to doping -, which won the stage in the Murcian steppe with a 20-minute advantage. On the first Sunday of September 2023, the dana passed in the form of wind and fear.
A cardiac stage; a botched, undignified ending. After the dana, the fans, the frenzy and the escape, a classic of the great escapes wins, the 26-year-old German Lennard Kämna, a sensitive and strong cyclist, who adds to the frame of his bicycle the notch of the tall wild from Caravaca de la Cruz to those of his victories in Villard de Lans in the Alps of the Tour and that of Etna in the Giro.
It was Kämna, and after him, his pursuer, the Italian also escaped Matteo Sobrero, brother-in-law of Filippo Ganna, the only one who ascended to full the eight kilometers of the carousel, a kind of roller coaster on new and narrow asphalt, and mud. Steps and troughs. The others, the big ones, who came in more than three minutes, were entitled to a cut of two kilometers: due to the danger perceived by those who passed by car, the mud, the gravel, the fear of rain in the most steep ascent, the 20% ramps that everyone feared and some wanted, the organization decided that the times would be taken 2,050 meters before the finish line, and there, on a fence, Fernando Escartín, technical director of the race, climbed , waving a yellow pennant to announce the end of suffering. They completed the scene, almost like a farce, two construction cones on the ground marking the finish line and the timekeeping commissioner, who, armed with pencil and paper, took times, noted down the numbers of the runners and collected their numbers.
Primoz Roglic passed like an exhalation before them, who tested Remco Evenepoel again by launching a long sprint of more than 200m. It is his terrain, it is the specialty of the playful Slovenian, who in no time took 2s from Mas, Evenepoel and Vingegaard, and 9s from Kuss, Soler and Landa. Afterwards, everyone stopped and friends in a group, chatting and telling each other funny stories, calmly climbed the last two kilometers, the hardest, in the face of the incomprehension of the uninformed fans. “It is very good that the organization has had this detail with us”, said, without irony, Enric Mas, 11s behind Evenepoel, the reference of the favourites. “It is good that they take more and more into account the safety of the runners. We are cyclists, but we are also people, parents…” Sepp Kuss, who maintains the lead with a 2m 24s advantage over the Belgian, also supported the cut. “It has been a correct decision,” he said. “The asphalt was not very good and it slipped in the curves…”
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