I am Caruso, says, a la Montalbano, the Sicilian cyclist on top of Alpe Motta, above the dark valley, 1,600 kilometers from its luminous Punta Secca, where the sun is always reflected on the clear Mediterranean. It is impossible to be further from home without leaving Italy. Damiano Caruso, who is almost always there, who almost never wins, is, he says, the happiest man in the world. He is already 33 years old. He has shaved off the ridiculous red mustache that he had grown because he had been told he was lucky, and he won with a clean face, a tired look and an indefatigable body. And Italy is moved by a monument to work and courage made flesh and bones, muscles and heart –and they proclaim him champion of the heart-, “and a gram of madness”, he adds, who on Sunday will finish second on the Duomo podium from Milan in a Giro d’Italia that will win, if a cataclysm does not occur, Egan Bernal, great. Before the 30-kilometer time trial, the Colombian leads the Sicilian by 1m 59s, and Simon Yates by 3m 23s, who is depressed by the lack of sun, color in the valley, and cannot hold Bernal’s pace at the end.
The attack 50 kilometers from the finish, and two climbs still ahead, hurt. Behind them, never more than 45s Egan and his Ineos teammates, the peloton breaks up into dozens of runners who try to hold the wheel in front of them, and most cannot. It has made Egan Bernal doubt. It has put an end to the hopes of Simon Yates. Caruso exemplifies the oldest race in cycling, that of the fighter who never gives up, who fights against superior enemies; who, accustomed to working for the stars, for Mikel Landa who fell on the fifth day, hesitates before launching himself, and, when he finishes, I am Caruso, at his service, he only knows that talking about his colleague Pello Bilbao, to whom he owes 70% of his victory, he says, and to whom, from proletarian to proletarian, he slaps twice on the back when the cyclist from Gernika, already empty , stop pulling him, 6.5 kilometers from the finish line, already on the last ascent, at the beginning of the climb to Alpe Motta, an old road carved out of the rock by hand like a work of art, and he makes from the sweat rock, and they enter the dark and humid valley of Spluga, narrow and high, almost as much as the neighboring Maloja, which along the route of Dr. Ferrari leads to Sankt Moritz, and from there arose Giacometti and his sculptures of figures that rise looking for a sun that winters only reaches them thanks to the reflection of large, well-studied mirrors.
Caruso has tried to win the Giro. He has attacked Nibali, his boss for so many years, on a descent, in the descent of San Bernardino, which the fans renamed San Bernaldino in honor of an Egan Bernal who trembles on his descent, where Romain Bardet attacks the wheel of two fellow barbarians who bite through the 72 tight bends, so tight that they cannot be called horseshoe bends. They are sharp, pointed angles, in which it is better to close the eyes, cross the fingers, pray whoever believes, than the technique, and recklessly relaunch again at the exit of each corner. Caruso sees him, and talks to his Bilbao. Let’s go ahead, he says. The Biscayan, one of the best downmen of the peloton, elegant, confident, master of the lines, he does not doubt. Forward is forward. They catch up with those from Bardet, they catch up with the fugitives, and one of them, Giovanni Visconti, also a Sicilian, although from Palermo, leaves his skin pulling on his countryman. The Giro, once again, begins. Bernal trembles.
“The most complicated moment of the Giro”, says the Colombian, who does not have time to lick his lips with the game of the Bernaldino, Nor to think that under the hard snow that covers everything that his vision encompasses the green grass of Heidi’s very meadows where the Edelweiss flourish grows, because there was an inspiring little house Johana Spyri, the writer who invented it. He only has ears for the chief manager of his company, Jonathan Castroviejo, a Biscayan like Pello Bilbao, who commands the exploitation operations of all workers, who sets the rhythms, who guides and advises and reassures, who is waiting for Dani Martínez, a downloader not very there, as your boss needs you for the final climb. And with his constant train rhythm, Castroviejo takes Egan to wheel as the Colombian likes. At 7.5 kilometers, Castro departs. It is the time of the prince of Soacha, who does not fail. Explosive. Winged Guided by the desire to die in the service of his employer if necessary. At his wheel Egan always keeps Caruso at 20s-25s. His wheel wins the Giro. “I have done the whole stage by wheel,” sums up Egan, who finally yielded 30s to the Sicilian. “Except for the last kilometer. Now I have 30 left to be able to say that I have won the Giro ”.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.