Guillaume Martin is writing another book one with the working title of The Platoon Society dedicated to the relationships that are established between its people types as different as himself cyclist writer playwright and philosopher as strange creatures as both that accompany him on the first escape of the Vuelta through the roads that border the Pyrenees beautiful in autumn and already fresh snow on their peaks towards Sabiñánigo which the French like Martin who is Norman call Sabiñanigó and laugh.

They arrive at Sabiñánigo which also offers the French material for his book There one year in the classic that used to be run from Zaragoza only one runner arrived Álvaro Pino who refused to support a protest by his 125 platoon mates against a tunnel that they had to cross in the dark and criticized them because they destroyed a race and all the illusion of the organizer and more than 30 years later in the Giro the cyclists mount another strike because they have been exploited for several days as miners with strenuous days and not only on the road and they are fed up and the people of the cycling as old as their whole lives have been old they tell them what they complain about that this is cycling that nobody forces them to be cyclists like nobody else of course it forces miners to be miners born to be exploited.

On the run with Martin is a Dutch lad as tall and lanky as most Dutch men and so young that he has not yet turned 21 and has only been a cyclist for three months he is a superclass they say at 18 he was second in a Tour del Porvenir behind Pogacar and ahead of cyclists so crackslike Almeida and Sosa another of those who come to cycling accelerated without fear thrown for victory whenever they can but lacks explosiveness the key quality to accelerate meteoric on the slopes of Sabiñánigo the physical quality of the that the third of the trio is left over the Belgian specialist Tim Wellens a fugitive by nature who starts strong 200 meters from the finish line and Martin can only see him distancing himself and he might even have had time to continue analyzing this Wellens for whom The bicycle is not only a work tool but also an instrument of knowledge life and freedom.

After the last race of 2018 in the Lombard autumn Wellens and his friend Thomas de Gendt also a professional cyclist returned to their Belgium on bicycles laden with backpacks two more tourists who covered 1000 kilometers in six days And the couple liked the landscapes and beauty of Teruel in the GúdarJavalambre region so much that they traveled in the last Vuelta that the two returned at the end of November cold and snow to travel slowly by bike without competing and he says almost as metaphysical as Martin in his reflections that the solitude the abandonment of the lands increased the beauty of the trip.

The green dogs do not rule the peloton the alpha males like Primoz Roglic do for whom cycling is just competition and fierce sprinting on all the slopes that in the Vuelta lead to a goal although the prize he can get is only the fourth place in a stage which does not have a bonus “What I do is compete It is the last race of the season and I do not want to leave anything on any day says Roglic five stages and five days in red who in the twists and turns of Sabiñánigo with his explosion of pure energy takes everyone out of the wheel although the stewards They understood that he benefited in a certain way from a fall in a curve which left Dan Martin the best rival for these arrivals among others on the ground and finally they erased from the classification the 3s in which he had surpassed Carapaz and company.

And it is about personalities like Roglic that Martin always writes about for whom sport does not define its intended educational value on the contrary but simply “the will to win”.

By Wi Zi

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