world champion time trial – to illuminate the endless climb (24 kilometers) to the aptly named Montescuro, dark as the night that falls fast in the heart of the most beautiful Calabria and already almost winter, dark as the clouds that hide the sky, and impose 11 kilometers below. Alone, as it has to be.
Less than a minute later, another young man, a rookie in pink dressed, even younger, the Portuguese Joao Almeida (22 years old), also exhibits his self-confidence at the end of a stage in which the old Nibali people controlled all the movements, and starts on a minimum slope to fight for the bonuses, and gets 4s more income for his leadership, which he now maintains with 43s over the second, the Spanish Pello Bilbao, since the previous second, the Ecuadorian Caicedo hero of Etna, the mist of Valico del Montescuro swallowed him.
Just four days ago, in the most luminous Palermo hit by the sirocco, the same giant of Lake Maggiore had imposed himself at almost 59 per hour in the initial time trial, and then it seemed that his Ineos would dominate the world because Thomas was the much better of the favorites. Two days later, he fell and retired. “And like a time trial I took the ascent when in the end I was alone,” says Ganna, son of an Olympic rower, genes of fatigue, endurance, strength and motor, who participated in the longest escape in the longest stage, 225 kilometers from Miletus, on the toe of the boot. “I wasaped with Thomas on Tuesday night, and he told me to get into the break, that I could win the stage. So, in a way, I did it for him. “
In the initial getaway there were better climbers, more expert runners, such as the Albacete from Madrigueras Héctor Carretero, who loves the Giro and the cold, and then the Colombian Einer Rubio and the Belgian specialist Thomas de Gendt joined, one who has won in the Stelvio. He resisted the attacks of all of them, and these, in the most stretched part of the pass, regular at 5%, could not hold the sustained rhythm with the big plate of the time trialist Ganna, who did not even need to get up from the saddle to open towards the goal.
Alaphilippe’s first victory with the rainbow
Last Sunday Julian Alaphilippe made the mistake of starting to celebrate a victory he believed to be clear at Liege-Bastogne-Liege 15 meters before the finish. He lost the race and not only because Primoz Roglic came back in the last meter, but because of a misplaced lurch in the sprint. “I sprinted like a youth,” acknowledged the world champion. “I know you just have to raise your arms after crossing the line. It will not happen again”. The head of champions is uncharted land, and they are only known for their actions, which they like to repeat instinctively, sometimes against better judgment, and not for their reasons. Although he is already 28 years old, world champion Julian Alaphilippe could pass for one more of the young generation for his taste for attack, for display, for victory, for his self-confidence … And in the Brabanzona Arrow, The second classic he disputes after winning the World Cup in Imola on September 27, his desire and his style were combined with those of the Dutch champion, Matthieu van der Poel, Poulidor’s grandson who may be the benchmark for all young people. Both forced the decisive breakaway and both sprinted for victory with an uncomfortable and young third, Frenchman Benoît Cosnefroy (24 years old, U23 world champion in 2017). Between the two Frenchmen they locked Van der Poel against the fences and when Alaphilippe started, the Dutchman had to turn aside to go outside from behind. Alaphilippe, already feeling like a winner after overtaking his compatriot, began to raise his arms before reaching the finish line and was shocked by the century when he saw the nose of Van der Poel’s bike appear to his left.