Pogacar does what he wants in the Volta Catalunya, wins in Vallter and takes the lead | Cycling | Sports

Playful or tyrant, mischievous or tsar. Tadej or Pogacar. It doesn’t matter what version the Slovenian teaches, a cyclist far above the rest in almost any stage competition with the permission of Vingegaard, the other lion king, perhaps also of princes Roglic and Evenepoel. But none of them are in Catalonia and once the second day is over there is no longer any guardianship, since the Volta is theirs. It was on the Vallter wall, a mountain sheltered with snow from twisted roads and twisty curves, steep ramps as they couldn’t be, where he gave the blow, a start without echo, a triumph without remission. “It has been a stage in difficult conditions. The climb has been very hard, perhaps because of the altitude it has cost me a little more…” Pogacar resolved after crossing the finish line. For the rest, however, it cost much more.

Floods of occasional cyclists, schools taking a morning off and countless fans flooded the streets of Mataró with color, all eager to see the titans on two wheels and handlebars up close. Mikel Landa always in everyone’s prayers, Sepp Kuss and his smile that is not missing, although no one with more flashes and attention than Tadej Pogacar, who stood before the media with a clear message. “I hope that Israel-Premier Tech honors the leader’s jersey and controls the race,” he requested in what seemed like a message that mixed warning and help, since his teammates from the UAE were worn out in the previous stage and accused him at the finish line. , since they could not escort Pogacar to victory, even though the Slovenian started like an airplane. He did it late, miscalculation, second place, little for him. He wouldn’t happen the same again…

It turned out that Israel did take the lead responsibly, a task shared in any case with the UAE, the team that is known to be the strongest, since they pushed boldly when they saw that the escape was coming together vigorously, a generous seven minutes. There was still work to do with shoveling and rowing, but first the unexpected happened, an attack that spread confusion and accelerated pulses. It turns out that Pogacar started 160 kilometers from the finish line escorted by his teammate Novak and no one stopped them, to the point that they enjoyed a one-minute difference. 10 kilometers later, however, they were absorbed by the platoon and theories were fired, as a car from the organization saw him come out of a ravine before getting back on the bike, as if he had gone to the toilet. Thesis that gained weight because his partner Jay Vine got off the Volta due to stomach problems. The reality was different. Pogacar attacked because he felt like it, because he wanted to stir up the hornet’s nest. “It was a very fun moment,” he clarified later.

Meanwhile, the romantic and Homeric idea of ​​the escapees – Janssens (Alpecin), Colleoni (Intermarché), Samuel Fernández (Caja Rural), Sainbayar (Burgos), Xabier Isasa (Euskaltel) and Álex Jaime (Kern Pharma), who wanted to give a joy to his people as he passed by his house, in Sarrià del Ter – he did not want to come to an end, and Janssens and Samuel Fernández tried to rush to boarding already at the Coll De Coubet, a first-class port. Goodbye to the gentle orography and welcome to the steep secondary roads between towns in deep Girona; corners of the Catalan haute bourgeoisie to be close to the ski slopes; green landscapes filled with pine trees; fresh Pyrenees; terrain for hikers like the ones seen in the ditch, even one with an antique butterfly net; land of good sausages like fuet and better meadows. Also a place of rain, since it fell heavily and at times it was hail -raincoats and cries from the cyclists-; Pogacar’s estate, after all, who once again played one of his tricks.

Not on the way down sprinted but he leaned his body forward, unconcerned about the risks or skids, about the sharp curves. Enough to open a small gap. When the motorcycle reached his side, he uncorked a smile typical of Daniel the Mischievousor, as a small child, one of those who has a great time with mischief. It was a warning, here I am, Pogacar for everyone. “I felt comfortable and comfortable; I have gone at my own pace,” he agreed, already wearing the leader’s green jersey. Then he waited and, this time, UAE began to pull even though the rain intensified, a dense blanket of water that even made it difficult to see a few meters ahead, curtains that were most uncomfortable.

There were 11.4 kilometers left on the ramps to Vallter, hours category (special category with a 7.6% average gradient and 18% sections), 1m18s advantage for Janssens. Nothing for the pedaling of the UAE, who with eight to go had already hunted them down. It was time for the epic, rain and persistent fog, now Almeida as gregarious, a sign of the Pogacar hierarchy, a scorching pace because only nine could follow in his wake. It was Tadej’s time, who with 6.5 kilometers to go burned the wheel, pulling it down to his shadow, a blow without equal. Behind them, the group of eight endured the downpour – in this case double because it was falling from the sky – until Landa also said his own, blows with the flavor of classic cycling, chased by Lenny Martínez (FDJ) and Vlasov (Bora), also by Almeida, Harper (Jayco) and Bernal (Ineos), without news of the Visma-Lease, theirs was a resounding failure. But that mattered little to Pogacar, because he was going so hard, not even the motorcycles with the production cameras followed him, he arrived at the finish line with his arms open, soft blows on his chest, breathy breaths but without any big fuss, as if his exhibition was a piece of cake, life is beautiful. Behind Landa, a giant again, the only one to hold out – second overall at 1m35s -, since the other candidates for the laurel sacrificed themselves. Like Kuss, Mas and Bernal, already more than two minutes away. It is the tyranny of Pogacar, the mischievous one, the emperor.

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