Pogacar can beat the world and achieves a hat-trick of stages in the Volta Catalunya | Cycling | Sports

Pogacar celebrates a new stage victory in the Volta after the climb to Queralt.Quique Garcia (EFE)

He could be conservative, save his strength for the last climb and run with the calculator, since he already had the Volta in his pocket since he won two racing stages, those in which the terrain was steep. But Tadej Pogacar does not understand pauses but attacks, dignifying the job through spectacle, unparalleled outbursts, a runner with an ice axe, glory to the new cycling that he champions along with Vingegaard, Evenepoel and Van der Poel. Thus, with 30 kilometers to go, when he had one and a half ports left to go, he decided to lean on the bike and burn the wheel, a preventive attack first and another virulent one later, what was necessary to be left alone as he likes, to meet with the goal, to explain to the world that he not only wins but destroys, that he doesn’t even leave crumbs, that there is no one who can tame him. At least in the Volta, he was only discussed and from afar by a fabulous Mikel Landa, the first of the mortals.

For months the illusion had been unleashed in Berga, where people came en masse, happy to see cyclists who mark an era, in the case of Pogacar. Although when the curtain opened on the stage it was Mollema (Trek) and Carthy (EF), brave of them, who tried to do the impossible, even though they opened a gap at the first attempt. Enough, in any case, to crown the first and second passes, the Coll de la Batallola (3rd category) and the Collet de Cal Ros (2nd). But UAE wanted order and control, while Visma also worked hard to pull the peloton to give Kuss the chance to finally say his thing in the Volta. Thus, although they enjoyed a 2m 10s advantage, the escapees came face to face with reality when they shook hands with the third port, a real legbreakerthe Coll de Pradell, a hours category 15 kilometers with an average gradient of 6.5% and maximum ramps of 18%. The good thing was beginning. But not the best.

At which the road became steep, an area of ​​rocky and limestone mountains that coexist with pine forests, sinuous and twisty asphalt, Robert Gesink (Visma) assumed the role of hare, rhythm like in the old days that burned the calves and shelled gradually to the platoon. It also took away oxygen from the brain, because with fatigue there were falls during the stage, although none of them were terrifying. Having overcome Vallcebre, the path was even steeper, already narrow, it was Kruijswijk (Visma) who picked up the baton to take out the whip, to remove runners from behind. It did not matter to the always combative Chaves (EF), gallant to launch the order, an attack in the Wall. His joy was soon reduced to despair, because UAE did not want scares or free souls, since Pogacar runs to win.

Again with Kruijswijk as tyrant, the group split in two, barely 25 runners able to stay standing. Until the earpiece told him to stop, that Kuss couldn’t do any more, nodding from side to side and swaying, his face reddened by the effort on the outside and pale on the inside by the fiasco. A toast to the UAE, which with Marc Soler at the helm decided to make the loop even more electrified, to further electrify the race, to point out the chosen ones, and only 10 runners as advance riders, although later, on the descent, as many others were able to get involved. A torment for everyone except one, who seemed to be biting his nails, holding back so as not to attack before his time. It was, of course, Pogacar. And there were 60 kilometers left, two more passes: the Collada de Sant Isidre (1st) and the arrival at the finish line, uphill, to Queralt (1st), six of the most indigestible kilometers, with an average gradient of 7% and maximum slopes of fifteen%.

Impulsive and fearless, irreverent and showman, Pogacar chose to slow down on the next climb, still with a lot to trace. Only Landa was able to keep up, even though he couldn’t follow him, a rocket without brakes or resistance. Although later Egan Bernal (Ineos) asked for the opportunity, finally a version that triggers emotions, that seems to put aside the serious accident he suffered two years ago and that left his body a puzzle, reminiscent of that colossus who won the Tour and the Giro doesn’t do that much. Even Enric Mas (Movistar) wanted to attack from behind to try to chase the podium, a wish not granted for seconds to Bernal’s reward.

But the fairy tale was told again by Pogacar, who on the last climb, embraced by the human corridors that fueled his pedal strokes with gasoline and that offered a landscape of love for two wheels and handlebars, found his cadence as a cyclist with a cape. , recital and delight that, of course, had its reward when crowning Queralt, hat trick of stages and checkmate a la Volta. Arms up and laurel. Nothing new, in any case, for a runner who challenges the world and is capable of beating it, who exercises a cycling that lifts the viewer off the couch, who uncorks passions in the gutter and provokes the admiration of the planet. That’s what Pogacar, once again, did. “It has been a very hard stage, but I have decided to attack when I saw that I could and the rest is history. “I loved seeing so many people at the end,” the Slovenian decided after crossing the finish line. Champion’s word.

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