In the absence of the retired Roglic, the Belgian leader responds without problems to the attacks of Enric Mas on the final climb, where Urán wins
Silence in the Extremaduran monastery of Tentudía. The words stayed on the way out. There, in Aracena, Enric Mas said that he has “a great opportunity” to win the Vuelta. He tried it. Juan Ayuso also spoke, who at 19 is fighting for the podium without ruling out “anything.” He attacked. And he also announced the fight ‘Superman’ López, who wants to take the place in the box from Ayuso and Carlos Rodríguez, “those children who are doing so well.” The Colombian moved… Remco Evenepoel silenced everyone on the not-so-demanding climb to Tentudía. The Belgian leader imposed silence. He shut down all the scrambles and, as proof of his dominance, pushed at the end to come in ahead. At the moment, no one can reply. To win you have to escape. That’s what the Colombian Rigoberto Urán did, who with this victory over Pacher, Herrada and Soler already has stages in the Tour, the Giro and the Vuelta.
Urán was heard in the monastery with his personal jargon: “It had to be today,” he repeated. He was right. He cost her. «When Herrada ripped me out, I thought: ‘Ihueputa… she had it there, there. I was able to catch him. At 150 meters I attacked with everything I had at hand. Look ‘faggot’, or I fuck him now or never». He won. But he arrived so just that he didn’t even have the strength to raise his arms. And, half jokingly, half seriously, he was sorry. «It is a photograph forever, to frame it and I am not going to go out with my arms up. I’m going to miss the ‘berraca’ photo». He was smiling. He was born with nothing. He saw his father shot to death. He carried the family as a child and learned to do what he did in Tentudía: “There are good times and bad times, but you always have to move forward.” Second in the Tour and the Giro, he is the pioneer of a whole generation of Colombian talents. He is 35 years old and it seems that he has been running forever.
In Tentudía, legend has it, time also stopped. The Christians were in a hurry in that battle against the Saracens. Night was falling and they still hadn’t occupied the square. Then they launched a prayer: «Holy Mary. Stop your day!». Hence the name. The plea was heard and the sun stood still. He granted the Christians the hours they needed to complete their victory. In gratitude, they built the monastery on this hill where the goal of the seventeenth stage was located. Primoz Roglic’s watch had also stopped. He broken in the final stretch of the previous day.
The Slovenian, who was second in the general classification after Evenepoel, paid in blood for his attack on the Belgian. The chilling fall he suffered on Tuesday a hundred meters from the finish line prevented him from starting in Aracena. His watch was unwinding to reach Tentudía, where another blast of his ambition was expected. Roglic, a former ski jumper who came late to cycling, has squeezed his time. He was able to win the 2020 Tour – he lost it in the final time trial against Pogacar – and has won the Vuelta three times. He aspired to his fourth consecutive victory. He will have to wait.
Falls do not let you move forward. Due to different accidents he has had to leave in three of the last four major rounds in which he has participated. Like salamanders, capable of regenerating amputated limbs, Roglic has always come back from his falls and his disappointments. Immune to discouragement. That ability to fit blows is once again put to the test. Without him, the Vuelta has lost the agitator, the rival who was going to hit the leader the most. Injuries and abrasions to his right arm, leg and flank have kept him out of the Vuelta.
“Primoz was sad”
“Primoz was sad,” his partner Rohan Dennis declared at the exit, who was already turning the page. It is his mentality and also Roglic’s. “When one door closes, another opens,” encouraged the Australian. Following his defeat at the 2020 Tour, Roglic won Liège-Bastogne-Liège. After his fall in the 2021 Tour he won gold in the Olympic time trial… Now, recovered from the setback that forced him to leave the Tour in July, he was fighting for the Vuelta. Door closed. His team opened another. Dennis ran away on his way to Tentudía. In reality, the clock is not stopped by anyone.
But Dennis missed the escape. The good one was another one, that of Champoussin, Jungels, Mäder, Wright, Herrada, Urán, Pacher, De Marchi, Craddock, Elissonde, Soler, Gesbert and Guglielmi. Good corridors, acorn-fed hams between cork oak pastures and white villages. Craddock, one of those cyclists who never wins, wanted to change his luck and went ahead a few meters before the climb to Tentudía. He was not enough for her. The victory belonged to Urán.
From behind, Enric Mas kept his promise and challenged Evenepoel twice. They were left alone. They looked at each other. The leader even seemed to goad him into buzzing on. They stopped. They left the duel for the next stage, that of Piornal. Ayuso, ‘Superman’, Carlos Rodríguez, Hindley, Pinot and O’Connor joined the group. Ayuso, always ambitious, and ‘Superman’ took out the spurs. Remco placated them as well. He only gave permission to go to Almeida, who doesn’t care. “Encic’s first attack was tough. He has tested me », acknowledged Evenepol. The Belgian more than passed the test.
“I wanted to see how Remco was doing,” said Enric Mas, second overall. “My team is fine and there are three stages left. Hopefully I can cut those two minutes off.” After the silence imposed in Tentudía by Evenepoel, the Balearic spoke, who does not give up having the last word in this Vuelta.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.