Heat Tour. 40 degrees and a sun that cooks the stones. Race Tour. Squad attacked. Highly strung. Changing wind. 45 on average through the desert between volcanic sand along the endless straights of Route 40, Chimbas, which has a cycling team and lives up to the meaning of its name in Quechua, Pedregal, Pocito and its lush orchards, olive trees, vineyards, and a hill peeled in which the ashes of the 10,000 inhabitants of San Juan who died in the 1944 earthquake are piled. And the cyclists fly like the wind.
As in the Tokyo Games, and Richard Carapaz well remembers, in Fuji; like Julian Alaphilippe’s World Cup in Imola, a finish on a new speed circuit, asphalt brand new, and a new, very good rider, long red hair, unruly beard, Quinn Simmons, who plays with the efforts of Remco Evenepoel, and the world champion gets lost in the labyrinthine curves of the circuit, when he wants to impose his tremendous speed on the peloton stretched. Simmons, an American from Durango (Colorado), 21 years old, already junior world champion in 2019, is not lost. He has studied the arrival on his Trek. He has clear ideas. He jumps at a crossroads and surprises. He is just over a kilometer. He keeps up the speed. He even increases it. He accelerates, accelerates on a false flat that makes his legs scream, and silence burns on his lips and curses await. Simmons wins. The sprinters, Richeze, who had the same idea as him but fell short, Sam Bennett, who remains the leader of the Tour of San Juan, Fernando Gaviria, who arrives late, die at the feet of a cyclist who became famous before that for his few victories even for the temporary suspension with which his team, Trek, punished him a couple of years ago for a tweet, an emoji, a palm of the hand, black, saying bye bye in response to a cycling commenter who said that those who liked Donald Trump had better unfollow him. Since then he has not opened his mouth outside of purely cycling responses.
The Argentine race in which only great cyclists win this year, Bennett, Jakobsen, Simmons, will be decided on Friday, in a high finish. On Thursday, I rest. On Wednesday, another stage between volcanoes, and a long and extended climb up to more than 2,200 meters and desert, before descending towards Barreal and its Pampa del Leoncito, the trace of a dry lake 14 by 5 kilometers, white and firm land that dazzles , not a bush and sailing cart races.
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