Remco Evenepoel redeems himself in the Navarrese mountains | Cycling | Sports

Remco Evenepoel
Evenepoel, ahead of Bardet, on the ascent to Larrau.Manuel Bruque (EFE)

Who will win the Vuelta? A Jumbo. What Jumbo? Who of the three who are the first three in the general standings and always go hand in hand, close together, and when one accelerates the others wait a little and go look for him? Who? The Yankee, the Slovenian, the Dane? The Dutch team is polling the public, the media, as if a sympathetic casting of its three boys should solve the problem. Who do they like better?, they ask, who do the fans prefer? Kuss speaks Spanish and lives between Catalonia and Andorra, and is very nice and funny; They adore Roglic in Spain, and he has already won three Vueltas; Vingegaard is not disliked either… Some indiscretions also indicate that from the first day, before the kid from Colorado showed his paw in the ascent of Javalambre, the Jumbo management had decided, a strategy of generosity, that he would be its most notable gregarious and applauded, the Sepp Kuss of all sauces, the hidden leader, the runner for whom his figures would work, whom they would help. Jumbo would thus win the third major of the year, after the Giro de Roglic and the Tour de Vingegaard, with a third rider, the triumph of his style, of his game, more cooperative than hierarchical. Everything studied. Everything is image. They do not want their dominant character, sweeping tide, and their hangover to be associated with that of the unfriendly and unnerving Sky of the times of Froome and his roller, or with other teams from other decades that remain in memory as the evil one. They make the stages attractive with varied attacks. They let others play. And, in their infinite goodness, they even allow and applaud Remco Evenepoel to recover his being the day after burying him in the deepest of his miseries. Evenepoel is on the run. The Jumbo feeds the flock, which arrives more than eight minutes behind the Belgian who wins, redeemed and redeeming, and his new blue polka dot jersey, king of the mountains.

In Larrau, where everyone trembles, the terrible port on the Navarrese border, Remco Evenepoel jumps headlong, eyes wide open, like someone who throws himself into the furious sea, and forgets.

He is Remco again, the runner who only enjoys when he attacks, the runner whom no one can resist either in Liege or in Donosti or in the World Cup in Australia, the wonderful child who wants to be Eddy Merckx and does things that only the Cannibal dared to do. do. Without fear. The first big mountain day of his life, the Friday of Aubisque, Spandelles and Tourmalet, was his first day of great suffering on the bicycle. He lost 27 minutes. He lost the Vuelta that he had won the day before and lost sleep. Crying, he says, he went to bed. In bed, negative thoughts. An hour of restless sleep, an hour of wakefulness. He is 23 years old. All of his maturity tests are carried out in public, amidst expectation, desires, and resentment. He failed the Great Pyrenees exam. Sweaty body, he says, locked in the Aubisque. Inexplicable. The exam for champion, for Merckx, was solved the next day with honors in mountains that were also enormous, mountains where champions suffer and build themselves, in Lebua from Murkuilla (Hourcére), where he listens to the advice of his wife who restored his motivation by dreaming about it while he was sleeping, with the sun already high, on the bus on the way to the start – “champions always respond” – and he sets out on his descent towards the village of Sainte Engrace and its cemetery, where Jean Cormier sleeps eternal sleep, and where the Frenchman Romain Bardet joins him in the adventure.

When the first lesson that cyclists receive is that before eating what is on their plate they should eat what is on their neighbor’s plate, Bardet, sensitive and wise, and will never be a winner, divides his plate and eats only the crumbs, and in the scorching heat of Larrau, an oven when you leave the cool beech forest and climb the bare vertical slopes, the place where Miguel Indurain, in the ’96 Tour, suffered like he had never suffered before, and with the greatest dignity, water Remco’s burning head with a bottle of fresh water. Then he begs the public for water for him. And he holds on to the Belgian’s wheel on the last climb, towards the the limit from Three Kings Table (Table of the Three Kings). Four kilometers away, Bardet, who knows the scenic value of a solo victory, of the image of a revived winner, alone, applauded, all the spotlights on him, leaves the forum. He erases himself. Evenepoel cries as he crosses the finish line. Bardet, a couple of minutes later, hugs him. Kuss, so nice, continues to lead. The end. The novel of the Pyrenees has ended. The Vuelta still has chapters left.

You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes in Facebook y Twitterclick here to receive our weekly newsletter.

Source link

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.