In the Giro, as in the Bible, everything happens so that what was written is fulfilled. There is no more ritual, ceremonial race. Decades and decades of repetition have set the standard. Flat stages in the south, where it does not smell of basil, but of poverty and worker struggle, smoke from the coal in which skewers of old sheep grill, arrosticini, already incense and church dust, more than 200 kilometers towards dune beaches. Escape without a fight. Five go out quickly and the sprinter teams close the gate. Four hours of calm, a few minutes of acceleration to end the break, half an hour of chaos, falls, inexplicable narrowing of the road, braking and, it was already written, no one doubted it, a sprint, and the victory of Jonathan Milan, a 22-year-old runner, so young and rookie, from the year 2000, like Remco Evenepoel, which sounds like an old acquaintance.
It measures 1.94m. He is a giant. He weighs more than 80 kilos. He needs the waters to open up for him to progress and take advantage of inertia, and his knowledge of watts – he reaches 1,900 watts in a few seconds, he says – and rhythms, refined in many years of work on the track. Friulian from Tolmezzo, far, far to the north, on the banks of the Tagliamento, the kilometer-wide river of rocky beds that descends from the Alps, Milan is half Filippo Ganna – and with Ganna in the chasing quartet he won the gold at the Tokyo Olympics—and, by size, half Mario Cipollini, who in 1989 won his first career sprint in the Giro, and was also 22 years old. For the style, no, not even for bad milk. His way of sprinting is not beautiful, but primary. A gap opens in front of him and he accelerates, and in two pedal strokes he takes everyone two meters out, and he moves his head and moves his body and wastes energy, and even so, he is a bomb.
Everything under the sun mezzogiorno Italian, hard shadows, no surprises around the corner, nothing you didn’t know was going to happen. Not a miserable fog, a climb, a hidden attack, a mystery, a wonderful fight, a doubt. The Giro has already been built, it will never imitate the women’s races, the Vuelta in Lagos, for example, as the new champions imitate them, including Remco Evenepoel.
The fall, just over three kilometers away, touches Remco Evenepoel, in pink, and when he speaks, it is a child who is fascinated by the colors with which they dress him up. “I had fun in pink,” he says, dressed in the rainbow of the world champion, a jersey that this Giro will hardly wear in the race. “It’s a new color around me. Excellent”. The initial time trial was won with the Belgian flag of national champion of the specialty; the second stage saved it from pink, and when it leaves the pink – perhaps, voluntarily, on Tuesday: a successful escape is expected in Lake Laceno, at 1,000 meters – it will discover the best young white. The blue colors of his team, Soudal? Impossible. Due to the fall, some with important names –Tao, Vine, Haig, Pinot– lose 19s.
The strong headwind breaks Fernando Gaviria, who wants to anticipate the sprint of the favourites. He does it at almost 300 meters. He fights with the wind and loses, and helps Milan, free acceleration from him. “I’ve let off steam,” says the Italian, who this winter already won a sprint in Saudi Arabia from Dylan Gronewegen. “One who debuts always doubts.”
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