Fire is fought with more fire, which robs it of oxygen, and Remco Evenepoel is fire in the rain, a pink flame that crashes down the tortuous roads of poor Basilicata, a mixture of asphalt, old, new, counterbalanced curves, to fight towards Melfi the ambushes that the Giro draws. The ambush is me, the Belgian, patron of the Giro, can proclaim, and at his wheel everyone struggles to maintain their balance, a few fall, many raise their feet, and Primoz Roglic, a delusional opportunist, tries to steal the bonus of the flying goal at 10 kilometers from the end. The Slovenian throws Bouwman to open the way for him, but Evenepoel, lightning, sneaks between them and discourages his opponent, who folds.
Later, the fire of the leader that imposes so much goes out. The one of the sprinters who have barely survived the last two climbs and the descent, Pedersen, Matthews, Groves, burns. More than 200 kilometers have passed since a stage that does not end, as it seems that it does not want to finish the last kilometer either, and the cyclists seem to have entered the grooves of the shell of a snail, a dead end curve until, with 250 to go meters, a towering climb, a Matthews acceleration, his face covered in black mud, victory. Pedersen, the man who loves the rain, and under a deluge won the English World Cup in 2020, has jumped before; the Australian, the cyclist who loves wild finishes, has calculated better, and he traces it back. Third stage victory in the Giro de Mathews, which already wore pink on the day in 2014 when Purito Rodríguez broke his hip on the ascent to Monte Cassino. It had been 300 days since he had won a race bling Matthews, thus appealed for his exuberance and his love for gold pendants, amateur world champion in 2010, in his Geelong, Australia. The last one, the Mende airport of the past Tour. None of the seven Spaniards who are running the Giro entered the peloton.
When Evenepoel fell, and almost died, on a descent in Lombardy in August 2020, there was no one who would not say that this boy was very good, but that he had a problem with descents, that he would never amount to anything because he did not know how to ride. platoon, which he did not control. What was one to expect from one, he said to himself, who had been a soccer player until he was 17 and had jumped from junior to professional without time to learn the trade? Three years later, and Evenepoel has just turned 23, the Belgian is world champion and teaches Italians how to run in Italy, the summum cycling art. “You have to be very focused all the time. On these long days, if you get distracted, that’s when you can screw it up, and even more so if it rains, ”says Evenepoel, who, with his teammates Vervaeke and Cattaneo, only appeared by head at the beginning of the decisive descent, and set his pace. “I knew the ending well. I have studied all the ends of the stages that do not seem important, because that is where there can be surprises”.
As if he were 40 years old, and 20 as a champion, Evenepoel no longer learns, he gives master courses, shakes the faith of those who challenge him and even adds a second to his advantage in a stage of nothing. And as soon as the third stage is over, he begins to display his teachings on the fourth, the one on Tuesday in the Apennines of Campania, the Picentino mountains, always in the south, so green, the ascent to Lake Laceno, 1,050 meters, in which He would like to lose, momentarily, the pink jersey, to take the workload off his Soudal. “But, well, let’s see. The plan is that, but we cannot leave the jersey to a rider who could be dangerous and wants to compete in the Giro”, says Evenepoel, eager to do as Miguel Indurain did in the 1993 Giro and not only take a load off his shoulders but also forever earned the love and generous help of the beneficiary, the Italian proletarian Bruno Leali, and his team, the Mercatone Uno. jersey pink is still the jersey pink and you have many advantages and benefits. The extra work after the race is the only negative, but on the other hand you have a better position in the peloton. You can always take control of the race yourself with the team. But yes, we’ll see on the climb. It is a hard stage. It will depend on who goes on the break, of course.
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