Remco Evenepoel and Egan Bernal resigned from the competition, still tender, and Superman Lopez, the one who most wanted to vindicate himself after a few turbulent months, the one who arrived best prepared, since he had made a priority objective of the Argentine round, took the victory of the Tour of San Juan, and recalled again the curious thing about his situation: dismissed from the WorldTour in Europe for his suspicious relations with those investigated by a court in Caceres Marcos Maynar and Vicente Belda father and son, finds shelter in Medellin and Beat the best in the world, blow them up. He was accompanied on the podium by the Italian Filippo Ganna, second, 30s behind, and the Colombian Sergio Higuita, 3rd, 44s behind.
Lopez sealed the race in the fifth stage, the toughest, ending at a height of 2,600 meters. The other stages were decided by the minimum in the last meters. Four were resolved in a massive sprint, with victories for Bennett, Jakobsen, Gaviria and Welsford; in another, a Simmons misstep frustrated the sprinters. The last one also finished in a sprint. It consisted of seven laps of the San Juan ring road, enlivened by a detail by Remco for his public, a 10-kilometer attack in the company of Simmons, and by marches with the Argentine flag of national glory, Max Richeze, who he said goodbye to the clamor of a fans who love him, and remembers his work as a pitcher for Gaviria, Kittel or Viviani in the Quick Step, and ahead of Jakobsen and Nizzolo prevailed Sam Welsford, the Australian who had been the surprise on Saturday . The almost unknown rider has been the only sprinter to have achieved two victories. Jakobsen’s final progression was halted when his helmet impacted at 70 per hour and smashed the phone of a fan who was carelessly filming the sprint at arm’s length. The Dutchman, who was about to die in a fall in a sprint at the 2020 Tour of Poland, reacted with resignation.
Neither Remco nor Egan, the most anticipated, wanted to fight, to resume in San Juan, almost two years later, the only debate in which they got involved, when in the 2021 Giro the Colombian defeated the Belgian rooster by KO, who He was returning to competition seven months after breaking his hip in a fall.
Egan Bernal is now, a year after his accident, a Zen monk, looking for happiness, inner peace, and a blow to his left knee does not even seem to disturb him on his way to light, which made him retire on Saturday as a precaution . “It doesn’t seem like much and it doesn’t endanger his progress, and most likely on Sunday he will play the Colombian national championship in Victor Hugo Pena’s Bucaramanga, a test that he is really looking forward to,” says Xabier Zandio, the director of Ineos. “In the range of possibilities that we anticipated before the race, Egan has moved in the most optimistic. He needed to prove himself, remove his doubts, and he achieved it with his attack in the fourth stage and with his work in the fifth for Filippo Ganna in Alto Colorado ”.
After the Colombian championship, Egan will travel to Europe to contest the Ruta del Sol in Andalusia (February 15-19) and Paris-Nice (March 5-12). “And from there on, I have no idea. I have no idea. I think it looks the same, right? Even after Ruta del Sol, if I’m really screwed up, I don’t think they’ll take me to Paris-Nice”, says the winner of the 2019 Tour. “If I’m good, not so much to win, but good, I’ll go to France, but if I am suffering a lot, maybe they say let’s stretch out a bit and rather go to the Volta a Catalunya [20 a 26 de marzo]. But hey, let’s see, it would be fine”. In the Andalusian round he will share leadership of Ineos with Carlos Rodriguez from Granada, who begins his season there. Meanwhile, Juan Ayuso will debut on February 1 in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
Although he maintains his fighting spirit and his desire to always stand out, Remco is not overly concerned, he says, about not having lived up to expectations or his historical profile in the Vuelta a San Juan, where everyone remembers, and he too, to the almost child Remco of 2020 who, before even turning 20, won the time trial and the final overall, after losing only 4s with the Colombian climbers in Alto Colorado. “I didn’t come prepared like then, and to go well at 2,600 meters you have to be very fit. The Colombians have spent the winter training at altitude and Ganna is in top form thinking about the Europeans on the slopes next week. This year he came more to help Jakobsen in the sprints”, says Remco, who in 2020 had to assume the leadership of the Quick Step due to the fright at the last minute and his unforeseen trip to Colombia by the leader designated by the team, Julian Alaphilippe, then with the rainbow jersey of the world champion that this 2023 Remco wears. “Also, I ran very badly in Alto Colorado. I was feeling strong with 10 kilometers to go and launched a suicide attack. At three kilometers he was dead. It was a stupid attack. The good thing is that San Juan is a race in which mistakes are allowed. I am not disappointed by my form, only by my mistakes”.
The Belgian’s first major goal of the year, who will take part in the Giro in May, will be the UAE Tour (February 20-26), in which he will live one of the few face-to-faces of the year with Tadej Pogacar The Slovenian who will fight in July, for winning his third Tour, will start his season on February 13 in the Jaen Classic through the olive trees, while the winner of the last Tour, the Danish Jonas Vingegaard, will do so on February 23 in O Gran Camino, the test Galician in stages that concludes on the 26th, and then he will meet Egan in Paris-Nice.
You can follow EL PAIS Sports on Facebook Y Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.
Source: EL PAIS