05/14/2021 at 7:03 PM CEST
The Giro was not looking towards the Adriatic Sea todayNor towards the tip of the heel of the transalpine boot, the furthest south where a race travels this year that has preferred to move better through the north of Italy. Nor did he care much about the war between sprinters, with a Caleb Ewan, magnificent, full of forces and with a speed boost that none of his opponents can neutralize.
The race looked towards the horizon and towards the new menu of mountains, in Abruzzo, south of the Apennines, where tomorrow and Sunday a new duel will be lived to make it clearer, if possible, who will be the runners who are going to fight for the ‘pink jersey’ that Attila Valter is now provisionally wearing, the first Hungarian to lead the Giro, the same – at least for the photos of rigor – who went to bed on Thursday with the leader’s jersey. The theory dictates that if he saves him today he can be satisfied, as long as he is not determined to become the big surprise of this Italian round 2021.
Fortunately there were no falls, nor any other favorite who went to the ground following in the unfortunate steps of Mikel Landa, the same one who had not gone down and maintained his position next to Egan Bernal on Thursday would now be among the top six of the general. But looking at the past and what could have happened is useless, not in cycling or in any other sport.
The Giro is moving towards the first hot mountain weekend with all the riders pending what the Ineos team decides (or can) do. Today, the only mission of Bernal’s assistants was to protect him from the wind that hit head-on and delayed the cyclists’ journey. But tomorrow, instead, it will be a matter of preparing the ground in case the Colombian rider decides to scratch more seconds, or in case he notices any weakness of Remco Evenepoel, who without making a lot of noise, taking responsibility, running with intelligence, without wasting too much strength, without looking for exhibitions previously starring in races of a day or a week, is already the second overall, in what is announced, with the permission from other more hidden opponents, such as the great duel of this Giro.
Certainly, there is terrain, between an ambush stage, tomorrow without great passes but with hardly any respite on the plain, and the first day, on Sunday, considered high mountain with the arrival at the Rocca di Cambio. And with the incentive, with the trap, of 1,600 meters, in the final phase of the fight, without asphalt, where the riders would feel more comfortable with a ‘gravel’ or mountain bike.
It will also be the opportunity to see how Marc Soler passes a new exam. The Catalan runner does not like the din. Nor is he one of those who seek cameras and microphones to talk. He has always wanted to be a low key athlete. And with a necessary low profile in this Giro, betting on the day to day, Soler is trying to hold on to the general to see how far he is capable of going. Something that not even he knows, although he treasures a class that has led him to lead the Movistar team in Italy.
For now, he looks very attentive and always in the top positions of the peloton, like today, when he circulated in the privileged places where the leaders go and those who do not want to be surprised by an unexpected cut in the final kilometers that wastes time how much it costs to get. Soler’s concentration, for now, seems perfect.