The favorites pardon Roglic in Itzulia | Cycling | Sports

Primoz Roglic celebrates his leadership in Itzulia on the podium, after a day in which he fell.Villar López (EFE)

The peloton had a plan and was not going to modify it because of a fall, far from it. It was strictly followed. In the collective imagination of that amoeba that changes shape as it advances along the road, the idea had settled that, despite the six mountain passes, not too demanding, it must be said, the day that began in Ezpeleta, that delicious French town with the facades dyed red by the peppers drying in the sun, and ended in Alsasua, it was going to be a waste of life.

As is well. Summer will arrive, or in this case a route more suitable to display muscle, skill, strength, energy or what any cyclist needs to succeed in life, which in this case is winning a stage race like Itzulia. In this exercise of procrastination, of leaving for tomorrow what can be done today, almost all the cyclists from the teams with potential were engaged, until passing through Olaberria, the town of Txiki Begiristain, and one of the cheese fiefdoms. Idiazabal, when there were 40 kilometers left to go, a fall occurred in a curve to the left in which the leader, Primoz Roglic, was involved.

What things. Nothing was happening, not even a sad escape for the solace of the staff and the joy of the sponsors of modest teams who make their presence on television profitable, when suddenly the tremolina starts due to a fall, which was that of the leader. Immediately surrounded by his Praetorian Guard, Matteo Sobrero and Emanuel Buchmann, with the help of his team’s car; Somewhat dazed by the blow to his right side, it took him a while to get back on the bike. By then, the peloton was almost two minutes behind.

It was difficult for Roglic to warm up, perhaps because until then the race had been quite cold, despite the fact that the ambient temperature was higher than in the previous days and the sky looked blue. The difference was skyrocketing, although no one wanted to make blood among the other favorites, as if the race were a joust between medieval knights in which the rivals wanted to compete in good fight, with nobility. The only blood was from Roglic’s scratches, who pedaled as if he were hesitating and deciding whether to continue or give up.

But the platoon continued to fulfill the initial plan, of leaving everything for another day, even relegating the weak, and at that moment the leader’s position was weak, precarious. So Primoz was encouraged when, after being more than two minutes behind the peloton, the distance was reduced little by little at first, then faster. When Roglic and his team saw that the cars in the caravan were close, they felt saved. Perhaps pardoned by the platoon, even by the judges who, through Radio Vuelta, asked the vehicles to pass for the injured man, who was not in an ambulance, but was increasingly active. First at the tail, then at the head, as befits him due to his status as a yellow jersey. The ascent to the last pass, Lizarrusti, was just beginning when he felt like a leader again. Nobody tried anything, the platoon’s plan followed the script to the millimeter. Even in the bonus sprint in Etxarri Aranaz, in which Evenepoel scratched three seconds, which brings him closer to seven in the GC, and Vingegaard one.

Then everything remained the same until a kilometer and a half to the finish line, already in the protection zone, another fall in the middle of the pack hurt Juan Ayuso, who received his award for best young person in the classification with a pained expression.

The stage was won in the sprint by the Belgian Quinten Hermans from Alpecin, who like Lapeira the day before, was baptized in a World Tour race with a prestigious victory. The General Assembly is tightening, although the differences are almost identical to those of the previous day. When cyclists stop procrastinating it will be something else.

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