Santiago Buitrago wins the queen stage of the Giro d’Italia at the Cima Coppi | Sports

Buitrago, in the last kilometers of the stage.
Buitrago, in the last kilometers of the stage.Marco Alpozzi/LaPresse (LAPRESSE)

A Giro of short times in immense, beautiful spaces, will be decided, as was suspected for two weeks, in the 18.6 kilometers of the final time trial (10 time trials, eight wild climbs) between Geraint Thomas, in pink, Primoz Roglic and João Almeida. The queen stage only left the beauty of the pale mountains and the triumph of a Colombian climber, Santiago Buitrago, a master in the escape, who pays tribute to Father Lucho Herrera, God made a climber in the mountains, winner in the Three Peaks of Lavaredo ago 34 years.

In 1967, the first time that the Auronzo Refuge was ascended, in the shadow of the Three Peaks of Lavaredo there was not enough development on the bicycles to ascend it, and the spectators took turns pushing the cyclists, and some, like Gimondi and Merckx , climbed comfortably holding onto the antennas of the RAI motorcycles, says the legend, that the poetry of sweat and picaresque arouses more sympathy, more humane, warmer, literary, even, than physical coldness Jumbo, all the power for technology, endorsed by Primoz Roglic at the foot of the Three Crosses, on the outskirts of Cortina d’Ampezzo. The Slovenian stopped at the back of the peloton and changed bikes. He gets on one with a single chainring, 40 teeth, and a crown of 12 sprockets, and the largest has 44 teeth, in the fashion gravel. And, thus armed, he approaches the naked myth, where the three strongest, in turns, and he too, attack each other in the last 1,200 meters, grueling with effort.

Mountains like gray eyes and deep as the sea, so beautiful that one never tires of looking at them. Past the mirror of Lake Misurina, and a hotel like the ones in Wes Anderson movies, they slightly raise their eyes from the asphalt that grips them and they believe they are pedaling in the clouds, they believe they are in paradise, out of breath, and sigh. The Three Summits, around 3,000 meters, the Great, the Small, the West, three pale rock ledges that plummet over the finish line, 300-meter slates veined with long dark stripes, take your breath away. They hallucinate. The pure air makes drunk spectators more drunk than beers, since they have also ascended pedaling, they offer a very closed es in the 18% curve. The morphine that gives the brain to those who make an effort and go beyond what they believe, and the cannabis that comes from the guts, takes power. The mystique had something to do with it, the ecstasy of it, and the LSD. The ice walls, like walls of a gigantic apartment, create the space that cyclists assault and conquer, and Derek Gee, a very tall and tireless Canadian who only needs two things to enjoy it, a bicycle and birds that sing and fly around, in front of all. He is pursued by Santiago Buitrago, Colombian, wise, born in the mountains, son of the air. Respectful of his past, of his father Lucho Herrera, the best climber the world has ever known, from Fusagasugá, from Cundinamarca, like him, Buitrago, from Bogotá, sees him attack, measures him, follows him, regulates his march and overcomes him. when the Canadian so tall to be a climber, 1.85 meters, dies. The Cima Coppi, 2,304 meters above sea level, is from Buitrago.

When he speaks, the overjoyed Colombian remembers Lucho and the eyes of a 13-year-old boy staring at the television screen. “My first memory of the Giro is these peaks and a snowfall the day Nibali won the 2013 Giro here,” says Buitrago, thus revealing the origin of the force that 10 years later led him to the same peak. “And the most beautiful thing has been to be able to see Squalo at the finish line and to be able to tell them.” And, jovially always, he gets excited.

The little battle of the Three Peaks, which pales before the memory of stories told. Under Roglic’s orders, Dennis tries to break the rhythm, moderate, that the Ineos maintains throughout the stage through the great Dolomitic ports, through the Giau, above all, in which another Colombian, Egan Bernal, won the Giro under the snow a few years ago. two years. De Plus, guided by Thomas, knows what he has to do to prevent the devastating Australian from punishing them like in the Bondone: he sacrifices himself and sprints at him. Dennis dies. Almeida, white like the landscape, also in white, takes advantage of the dead time to accelerate. The stage is over, the calculation dominates. On his atomic mount, at 1,200 meters, Roglic counterattacks. Thomas follows easily. Almeida takes longer, but arrives. Together they stand. They are measured. Thomas starts, a pink rocket, agile pedaling in 12. Roglic gives in. Almeida dies. But 450 meters in the Dolomites sono molti longhi. Roglic recovers. He reaches for Thomas. He sprints at him. He lets go. In the final 50 meters, so steep they are, he loses three seconds. At least Thomas is comforted by seeing that despite his efforts, the Slovenian does not reach the Danish Cort, from the breakaway, who comes third and deprives him of the bonus 4s.

The fruit of so little? Three seconds from Roglic to Thomas in the last 50 meters; 23s to Almeida. In the general, 26s from Thomas to the Slovenian; 59s to Portuguese.

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