Mojitos, caipirinhas and daiquiris at the racetrack, although the caspijos ask for spritza giant screen with extravagances and feats, the best goals, in a loop by Peter Sagan, the first rock star of cycling, and on a giant stage, La Beriso, street rock from Avellaneda, a left-handed guitarist and Rolo Sartorio, melancholic in spite of himself, thousands of people, cell phones on, love. The day of rest, the eve of the queen stage, the Tour of San Juan, a party, celebrates the 33rd birthday of Sagan, a cyclist who is not like the others, who cannot be like the others even if he tries, and who with a t-shirt joker Blanca announces around midnight, before toasting with prosecco, that this is her last season on the WorldTour, that her time “has come”. “This season I will compete at the top of all the races, I will try my best, some classics, the eighth green jersey of the Tour, everything”, says the Total Energies cyclist who has been affected by the covid more than most and since 2020 is not the same. “Then, in 2024, I will continue to be a cyclist, but on the road I will only do small tests, third class, because my main objective is to qualify for the mountain bike competition at the Paris Olympic Games.” So he talks in small committee. Then she gives herself to her Argentine public, with whom she has loved so much. She goes on stage and they sing her Happy Birthday off-key to her.
Sagan, Slovak, says goodbye to the peloton the same way he arrived, in 2010, making a lot of noise, a 19-year-old rookie who dares in the first stage of his first race to get into a break with Lance Armstrong returned, 19 years older than him , a time that says goodbye. Without Sagan, without his way of understanding cycling as a show that kids should stop seeing as something for grandparents, the “boring” sport he complained about, perhaps the figures of today would not have grown, Van Aert, Van der Poel , Pidcock, those who give cycling a tone between frenetic, adventurous and intense, cycling without fear. a cycling with star system, of stars. The Slovak set the stage with his follies and solidity: 121 victories, three consecutive World Cups (the only one), one Roubaix, one Flanders, 14 Tour stages, seven green jerseys (a record), wheelies on the Tourmalet and anywhere mountain, baritone voice that seems serious and echoes with laughter, four stages in the Vuelta, two in the Giro… All in a single decade.
In the bar of the shed, young Argentine journalists talk with the veterans who come from the world. The veterans tell them about a sign at the exit of the city, Malvinas 2,538, and they talk about Argentina 1985, the film, and from his memory of those years, the infamy. And the young Argentine journalist marvels, but how, is he interested in history? And, perplexed, the veteran, but what story, if I was 18, 20 years old, when all this was happening?
Surely, Sagan before the end of the year will already be history for the youngest, one that only those who have experienced it will remember. The same will surely happen to Thibaut Pinot, another of Sagan’s generation who has also announced his retirement from a cycling that he no longer understands, or to Nibali, to Valverde, to those who have just left him.
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