Victory for Vingegaard and his yellow jersey in the third stage of O Gran Camiño | Sports

“Who do you love more, Miguel? To Pogacar or to Vingegaard?”, one asks Indurain, who is waiting on the podium of the Alto do Castelo, in Rubiá, for the moment to crown the Dane again, solo stage jersey yellow on the shoulders. “Whoever wins”, replies the Navarrese transmuted into Galician, perhaps an effect of the landscape of the Valdeorras valleys at his feet, godellos and mencías, bare vines waiting for the spring leaves. “But which one do you like best, what style?” insists the curious one. “If they are both the same. Look at this, ”replies the winner of five Tours, pointing to Vingegaard, who is currently rolling as he did in the Tour, at the back of the podium and talking on the phone with Trine, his partner and mother of the daughter of he. “Look how he likes to win, as much as Pogacar. Neither of them spares a single day. He won yesterday, he won today and he will surely win tomorrow too, the time trial, although Pogacar is perhaps a little more spectacular”.

And a few minutes later, as if by magic, seven Tours meet on the stage in a remote and harsh Galician village, before a landscape that seems alien, distant, scars from the forest fire that burned forests and villages covered in white in summer. , white snow, and it looks like Poland or Russia from old black and white movies, and shadows of colored cyclists on a road, going up to the Alto, where traces of old gravel and tar can sometimes be made out. Indurain’s five are added to that of Óscar Pereiro, one of the promoters of the race, and that of Vingegaard, who minutes before has won, in yellow, as he won in Hautacam on the last Tour, and he celebrates it almost shyly, affectionately, sending Just two air kisses, one for his Trine, the other for Frida, his daughter, and he doesn’t raise an arm, winner, alone, after a fellow Hungarian, appropriately named Attila and surnamed Valter, exterminated the squad, reducing it his Jonas and two more, the Portuguese Ruben Guerreiro and the Gipuzkoan Ion Izagirre. At 1,500 meters away the Hungarian champion, his jersey tricolor, white, red, green, and Vingegaard changes the rhythm, and leaves. The Portuguese and the Basque chase him, at his own pace, so as not to get burned, and Izagirre seems stronger, and he is more unfortunate, because on a small downhill, dangerous curve, he slips and falls. And at the finish line he cries and Vingegaard, embarrassed, approaches to comfort him, almost suffering the pain of the Basque in his body as well.

At the podium, he sips a bottle of sparkling godello and receives a small tree, a Carvalho (oak), with each jersey with which they dress him, yellow, blue, green, mountain, dots, which he asks to be planted in the burned forest to help its repopulation. “They told me about the fire and it made me very sad, what superb landscapes”, she says. “I suffered more than in the Via Crucis on Friday. The day was colder, harder, and the final climb was tougher. I didn’t feel very comfortable, but since I had decided to go and win the stage, I had to go for it. It’s good that I won.”

Vingegaard, on the podium.
Vingegaard, on the podium.IRAIA CALVO

It is the story of O Gran Camiño 2023, a race in which there is much talk about Tour winners and their future and the joy of seeing one of them compete in their land as if their lives depended on winning, as they say of the snow that fell at night and the fear of some teams, of their demand to shorten the stage, to remove two passes through Santa Mariña, the so-called mortiroliño Galician, so hard is the mountain, it is like the Italian port, but in an abbreviated version. And wilder, as the triathlete Iván Raña recounts, visiting the Esgos exit, where the snow scares the cyclists, and the cold, and the stage is reduced to 123 kilometers, little more than three hours pedaling, and a steep slope final. “I feel very fit”, repeats the Dane. “I hope to be like this in Paris-Nice, in two weeks, which I will also try to win.” In the finish truck, the screen printing technicians stamp the name of their team, Jumbo, on the suit for the final time trial, in Santiago, 18 kilometers. It looks like a little boy’s jumpsuit. “And it’s bigger than he wants,” say the stampers. “He had asked us for a size XXS, and we don’t have it.”

In the streets of A Rúa, 20 kilometers from Rubiá, posters stuck to the walls announce that it is being exhibited Ace Beasts in the cinema, and shortly after the squad passes close to Santoalla do Monte, the village, almost a ruin, where the tragedy occurred. Finishing his conversation with Trine, Vingegaard puts his phone in his pocket and while he continues pedaling, Ezequiel Mosquera, the inventor of O Gran Camiño, comes over to chat with him. “He has told me that he loves the race, that he is enjoying it a lot,” says Mosquera. “And that we can count on him for next year, because he wants to come back.”

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