Kaden Groves wins the Salerno stage after a tough day at the Giro d’Italia | Sports

Evenepoel, on the ground after his first fall.
Evenepoel, on the ground after his first fall.LUCA BETTINI (AFP)

In gray Salerno, and the sea, the winner is not even smiling, the Dutchman Kaden Groves, one of the sprinters that arrive After 270 minutes (an average of 38, and with a grim face, the spirit filled with what is called with just indignation aftertaste) soaking themselves under the falling water and over the water that the puddles on the road spit out when they roll over them, the squad is rage and insults. No one, not even the Norwegian Andreas Leknessund, who manages to keep the jersey Rosa, you feel like joking. Not even Mark Cavendish, who does a crazy caper at 60 per hour because his bike skids at a zebra crossing 20 meters from the line after a sudden change of trajectory by the DSM Alberto Dainese and crosses the finish line fifth, dragging himself on the ground. Much less the one around whom the Giro revolves, the Belgian Remco Evenepoel, who fell twice. From the first fall, caused by a puppy, he came out unscathed; of the second, not so well.

“The dog’s fall was nothing, but after the second one his right side hurt a lot, a good bruise with muscle contracture and he has also touched the sacrum,” explained Toon Cruyt, the Soudal doctor. “With a good massage, osteopathic treatment and a good night’s rest he will be better, we’ll see how he is when he wakes up. The bruise, however, will take a long time to absorb, but hopefully the muscle contracture will disappear faster. Anyway in the stage of Naples [jueves 11] It’s going to be bad.”

Tragedy repeats itself in history as a farce, declared Karl Marx, who knew a lot but did not understand cycling and did not know the Giro, where history repeats itself as a sad and helpless, meaningless copy, and he remembers with a dog day that 39 years ago, on May 10 when the rainbow came out in Lisbon after a rainy night, Joaquim Agostinho, a cyclist, died a few days after suffering a fall caused by a dog that crossed in front of his bicycle. As the Giro passes through Calore, in Irpinia, a wild region of forests and mists and ancient villages, a loose dog is startled and mad and launches itself at Davide Ballerini’s ankles. It is not known who is more scared, but Ballerini does brake, the wheels skid on the dirty and soaked asphalt and he goes to the ground, as his teammate Remco Evenepoel also goes, towards the other corner. His body covered in a black and rainbow-striped raincoat, the Belgian skipper sits, more outraged than stunned, more wondering how he could have fallen than worried about possible injuries. There are 150 kilometers of stage left. Nobody takes pity.

Evenepoel takes time to get up and when he does, he takes time to reach the squad, which, half standing, protests against a trade that has no mercy for its workers, protests against the sky, against the happy and crazy puppies, against the roads of southern Italy , the painting of the zebra crossings on which those who dare to stop slipping on the ancient Appian Way along which they advance, taking a detour towards Salerno, at the gate of the Cota Amalfitana, its immense beach of Spineta, where the wind blows and drives them madder, the Battipaglia buffaloes and their good milk and better mozzarellas and provola, and he resigns himself, and fulfills his obligation. In slow motion, increasing the time under the downpour, he returns to the asphalt, to the slippery paint, to the ground. From nerves.

Neurologists say that the size of the reward is proportional to the possibility of being wrong when performing a task because the neurons of the cortex that plan fine movements are disturbed when they also anticipate the great prize that is coming. The punishment must have the same effect on the cortex and on his neurons, and for fear of falling, twenty more, among them Primoz Roglic, who borrows a teammate’s bike, and Fernando Gaviria, another sprint that he does not reach, they fall with seven kilometers to go in a closed and narrow curve that they face in slow motion, so scared. And finished with fear, calm also kills. A few kilometers further on, past the danger of the wind from the beach, Evenepoel, againNow seeing himself safely within the three-kilometre limit in which time differences caused by breakdowns or crashes do not count, he lifts his foot and, forgetting any prudence, leaves the fast peloton opening with all the calm in the world to the right. As he does so he looks to the left, he doesn’t see a Trek streaking past him, accelerating his boss Mads Pedersen toward the sprint. They brush past the Belgian world champion, who, it was a day to have stayed at home, returns to stay on the ground, well seated, with less desire than ever to get up again and raging at everyone. The Belgian, favorite for the final victory always despite his ills, continues in the race hoping for better days, already aware of all the dangers of the Giro before a busy weekend: Naples with sun and Sorrento, on Thursday; the Gran Sasso on Friday; the time trial on Sunday and the return in pink.

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