SportsThe Dauphine time trial brings to light the shortcomings of Spanish cycling

    The Dauphine time trial brings to light the shortcomings of Spanish cycling

    Landa, during the time trial.
    Landa, during the time trial.ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT (AFP)

    Tour heat, minimal humidity and an initial slope, just over two kilometers at 5%, which Jonas Vingegaard gobbled up in large mouthfuls. Atomic. The Dane flies as he flew in February in Santiago in the O Gran Camino time trial, where even the drones had a hard time reaching his speed. Next to him, the best riders of the moment, the French Remi Cavagna, the Clermont Ferrand TGV, the Danish Mikkel Berg, amateur world champion and friend of Pogacar, seem slow; next to him, the best Spaniards, the usual hopes of the Tour, Mas, Landa, and the young man who arrives, Carlos Rodriguez, look like cadets. At 55 kilometers per hour Vingegaard covers the first 10 kilometers, the first third of the detour that led from Cours to Belmont, between the Loire and the Rhône, his position on the goat millions of times perfected through the virtual use of the wind tunnel (wonders of supercomputing), the aerodynamics of the handlebars, the stem, the seatpost, the frame, the rims, studied to the millimeter. In 10 kilometers, the Spaniards already give him between 45s and a minute.

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    In 10 kilometres, Vingegaard, the winner of the last Tour, brings to light the shortcomings of the most widely believed Spaniards, mountain men, they say, and, fortunately, although their performance goes from less to less and they reach almost staying dry in the last few kilometres, suffocating, long straights on a permanent false ascending flat that steal their energy, Vingegaard, so scientific, his calculations fail and he also ends up dry, almost as dry as them, and neither wins the time trial nor reaches the yellow jersey, two of his objectives. The honors go to his compatriot Berg, the locomotive of the UAE in the Tour, two years younger than him and triple world champion in time trial under 23. “Yes, perhaps it is better not to have taken the lead, so I do not make the team and the mountains will arrive at the weekend to catch up with it”, says Vingegaard, second overall, 12s behind his compatriot. “The plan was to start very strong, but maybe I went too far and was a tad stronger than I should have been. I tried to save a bit of strength in the intermediate 10 kilometers to go strong at the end, but by the last kilometers I no longer had anything to go strong. Yes, perhaps, I should have regulated a little more at the beginning.

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    The miscalculations of the Dane who will fight in July with Pogacar for the victory in the Tour did not hurt the group of worthy Anglo-Saxons, habitual occupants of positions of honor, who crowded behind him within a minute’s margin -and there Hindley, Haig, Adam Yates and O’Connor were there, but they didn’t give the Spaniards oxygen. But he gave up 2m 28s in the 30 kilometers (almost 5s per kilometer) and is already 2m 43s behind in the general; and he lands at 2m59s. Other Spanish-speaking climbers, the Colombian Egan Bernal (at 2m 25s) and the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (at 2m 21s), lapped by Alaphilippe in the last kilometers, join their group, from which the best of the Spaniards escapes, and the younger.

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    Carlos Rodriguez, a 22-year-old from Granada from Almunecar, will debut on the Tour after finishing seventh last year in his first Vuelta. He regulated better than anyone and ended up giving up 1m 48s. He was the best of the Spaniards, and although not the best of Ineos (Dani Martinez, more of a specialist, beat him by 53s) in a way he won the British team’s primaries for the Tour against Egan. Only after the Alps on Saturday and Sunday will Egan decide if he is ready to return to the Tour 18 months after his accident, but Rodriguez already feels prepared to assume the leadership of one of the best teams in the world.

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    Source: EL PAIS

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