07/01/2021 at 7:19 PM CEST
A kilometer and a half from the Châteauroux goal, next to the football stadium, is the actor’s birthplace Gérard Depardieu, the most famous neighbor, a veteran in the performance tables as they are in the art of pedaling Mark Cavendish, Alejandro Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali Y Philippe Gilbert. All of them arrived in 2008 in this city of the Loire in the first victory of the British sprinter (two wins now from Eddy merckx en el Tour) that has risen as dominator of the massive arrivals of the French round, a reunion with the history of cycling.
Valverde hugs Cavendish: 77 years adds the couple. ‘Cav’ is leaving without regretting the decision to postpone his cycling retirement. ‘El Bala’, who will continue running next year, is more uncomfortable. He was vaccinated a few days before leaving for Brittany and the puncture made him fatal: first a fever and now running with the feeling that since then he has lost part of the spark that inspired him.
He does not withdraw them or Tadej pogacar, something like a little brother and almost a son in terms of age. 22 years old is the great aspirant to victory, who on the way from the land of Depardieu Wheel calmly, that the day calls not to fall and to regain strength thinking of the Alps that appear the day after tomorrow. And the thing is that it is maddening to stamp oneself face down as it happens to the Italian Jacopo Guarniere, just at the moment when he had to act, two kilometers from the finish, to launch his sprinter Arnaud Démare, fourth on arrival and without fortune on the plain where he wanted to stand out.
Cavendish he is ready to annihilate the rest of the sprinters and his team, the Deceunink, to collect stage victories. Of six stages they have won half in what seems like a common front. Nobody falls off their rings, not even Julian Alaphilippe. The world champion is the first to prepare the sprint for his British teammate, who is even lucky that the gregarious of Mathieu van der Poel in the Alpecin they bundle up and collide with each other while Cavendish he makes his way to victory, to history, to the exploits of a Tour that sees him as one of the greatest sprinters to have raced in these parts since the race was invented in 1903. 32 stage wins, a milestone. With strength he starts dressed in green, he is beating rivals, the roar at the goal sounds, and when he is already victorious, Cavendish even has time to celebrate the victory. If it continues like this, if it reaches Paris, the record of Merckx He is in danger, although the truth is, and except for surprises, there won’t be another sprint for days.
Children and jerry cans
It began without wrinkling before the great ones, the madmen of the arrivals, Alessandro Petacchi, Eric zabel Y Oscar Freire, and now share platoon with ‘children’ like Pogacar.
As happy children, they are the ones who now stand with their parents in the new areas where, for ecological reasons, cyclists throw away cans, trophies to collect with the initials of all the teams. That image of throwing the bottles anywhere is over so that they take years to rot next to nature. Today, six kilometers from the finish line, the island was loaded with the best treasures thrown by the runners. And whoever breaks the rule risks until they are expelled from the race. The first time a warning accompanied by a fine and the second time, to the street.