On Mount Bondone, the Giro revives and Geraint Thomas recovers the pink jersey | Sports

Almeida crosses the finish line on Mount Bondone ahead of Thomas.
Almeida crosses the finish line on Mount Bondone ahead of Thomas.LUCA ZENNARO (EFE)

Long live the Bondone! Shouts the Giro, which in the 20 kilometers of the Trento mountain, beautiful and immense theater, pinkish stones at the top, represents its first work of action and life. There is collective action, team play, unexpected attacks, surprise collapses, and three names. The young Portuguese Joao Almeida, 24 years old, jersey white, clean, that attacks, forced and dancer, and wins the stage, and emits a liberating cry; the old Welsh lion Geraint Thomas, who attacks also, and recovers the jersey pink; the tough Primoz Roglic, who suffers, and his knee creaks, and he gives up half a minute.

Like an admonition, a gray photo of Charly Gaul, a half-dead little bird in the arms of two carabinieri who carry it on the wings, welcomes cyclists on top of Mount Bondone above Trento. This is cycling, excessive, a trip to the door of death, seems to tell them the Luxembourgish climber who died almost 70 years ago, in short sleeves, drenched jersey Merino Faema, under a snowfall that froze half the peloton, in a stage of nine hours, 242 kilometers, reaches a pink jersey from which he was 17 minutes away at the start of the stage. Unable to free themselves from the weight of the past, which gives legitimacy to their trade, and value, in the years that are running, an air of calculation and knowledge, and ports are measured in minutes and watts, carbohydrates ingested, calories expended, runners they honor as the times oblige, with science and decision.

As in classic tragedy, the mystery of the Bondone in the 106th Giro is also born from the mistake, the incident, the redemption. In 188 of the 203 kilometers of the stage, on the banks of the Garda, to the north, the mountains that threaten, above and below the Santa Bárbara and its red ammonite, the stone on which the nobles stepped in their Renaissance palaces, in 4,000 Of the 5,000 meters of total elevation gain of the day, Roglic’s Jumbo takes the peloton breathless, which little by little breaks down and devours the breakaway. After finishing his devastating task, his teammates, 15 kilometers from the finish line, where the Bondone is a forest, flattens out for a while, and Rohan Dennis, the most destructive, says, I’ve come this far, Roglic finds himself in a bad position, with few friends – only Kuss resists at his side—and surrounded by ill will. His own team has exposed his weakness. The UAE and Ineos notice. Almeida’s team accelerates –Formolo, Vine, Ulissi–, and eight kilometers, the first acceleration of the Portuguese. Only the best of the Giro, half a dozen, resist. It also accelerates as does the Dunbar Jayco. Six kilometers away, only the best remain. Its over the team dance. The melee begins. Six kilometers away, Almeida attacks hard, who feels like a champion among his youth idols, along with Thomas whom he gaped at on TV five years ago when the Welshman won the Tour. Ahead of Roglic who stays, who asks Kuss, faithful, to set the pace for him, that he can’t take it anymore. Thomas, at his wheel, studies it, measures it, and when he knows it’s finished, he attacks and goes after Almeida. 25 an hour in the mountains. very fast Always sitting. Speeding up. Roglic looks the other way. After the collective suicide, or the game of false appearances, the Slovenian relies on his beloved Kuss to limit the loss. The old lion is wounded, voices are heard at the finish line, under a light rain, spring on the mountain. Oh, the fall with Tao, last Wednesday on the way to Tortona.

Welsh and Portuguese (from Caldas da Rainha, where it dawned on April 25) look back and collaborate. They don’t keep the strength for the final sprint, which Almeida takes away, and the light rain covers his face with mud, and without glasses, myopic look, naked, Thomas, he seems older, more Gaul, and he says he doesn’t know how many watts he has generated, that never looks at it, that they will tell you, naturally the faster of the two. “Thomas came to me like lightning, and I trembled,” says Almeida, who revealed himself, a child, in the Giro 20, and succumbed in the Stelvio to the rhythm of Dennis; that the last Giro had to leave due to Covid, when he was fourth; that he had never won a stage in the corsican pink; that this year he had always been behind Roglic in the Tirreno, second, and in the Volta, third. Who believes in him “It makes me feel old to hear Almeida say that, I’m 13 years older than him. But even though he looks old, I feel really young,” says Thomas, jersey pink again, with 18s over the Portuguese, a magnificent time trialist, and 29 over the Slovenian, and the fourth, resistant Caruso, at 2m 50s. “Those advantages mean nothing in the Giro, with the remaining mountains and the time trial, and if the bad weather returns in the Dolomites, which seems to. froomey [Chris Froome, su amigo] he was more than three minutes away when he won the 2018 Giro…”

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