«Look, I've been in this cycling business for years, but I've never witnessed anything like it.
Do not gave credit on what he was seing.
In less than a month, a runner overturned by his fears became a brave man ».
, who was the director of
, hallucinates with the catharsis of
The Balearic cyclist, overwhelmed by stress, hit rock bottom in the last Tour de France, when he was neutralized by panic at the descents of the ports.
“I was going down blocked.
He didn't fit the bike anywhere.
He took the curves almost standing.
An accumulation of circumstances prior to the Tour, especially the falls in the Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour of the Basque Country and the Dauphiné, overwhelmed a
rider who, due to his way of being, is little given to sharing feelings
He wasn't a devastated guy, but he wasn't aware of what was happening to him”, recalls the Movistar Team manager.
In the Tour, Enric Mas climbed the climbs with the best, with
, but he fell behind on the descents.
"He was going down at half the speed of the rest," says Unzué.
Enric abused the brake.
It didn't even help him that
opened the way for him and marked the correct line.
"An unusual situation," Unzue insists.
Now, Enric Mas, it is different.
The season begins today, in the Vuelta a Andalucía (ends next Sunday).
Then he will go to Tirreno-Adriatico, País Vasco, Fleche Wallonne and Liège-Bastoña-Liège.
His challenges are ambitious.
"I aspire to the maximum," he warns while receiving a massage in a hotel room in Úbeda.
I feel good after overcoming a bad streak
, a time when I was absent, strange," adds the climber trained at the
How did Enric Mas overcome this disorder?
With psychological therapy and specific training.
"Enric dropped out in the last week of the Tour due to covid and we sent him home, to Andorra, to start kilometer zero of his recovery," adds Unzué.
So, Mas contacted
, a Catalan mountain bike cyclist, a specialist in the technique of descending ports.
He also spoke with
, a psychologist who studied at the same school as the runner, the IES Llorenç Garcies i Font, in Artà (Palma de Mallorca).
«We share origins and last name, but we are not related.
He helped me manage emotions.
He has been key throughout the recovery process.
Eusebio, who called me almost every day, and Óscar Saiz, have also been very important.
that it can be said that he taught me, once again, to ride a bike
», explains the second classified in the last two editions of the Tour of Spain, who this year has made concentrations in Alicante and Sierra Nevada.
Óscar Saiz has already treated disorders similar to other runners, such as the Frenchman
«In road cycling, until now, technique was not one of the factors that counted the most.
All the teams have a lot of data studies, watts, power, aerodynamics... A huge amount of information, but then they realize that they lose races because their cyclists descend badly, drop off, waste opportunities, fall, get injured and have than to be long periods of leave ».
Saiz points out that the first thing he did with Enric was to improve the handling of the bicycle, with
repeated descent exercises and video analysis
“You have to take into account two concepts.
One is the ability on the bike, if you are able to brake quickly or lean the bike.
The other is the development of external cognitive capacity, that is, how the brain is capable of measuring distances, anticipating and understanding how to face a curve.
That is what is called 'pilot's mind'
There are people who have it and people who don't.
Enric offered failures in both areas.
With practice and a few tricks he learns to follow the curves well and to study the one in front of you, it is not enough to follow him.
After fixing the problem, the runner starts to float.
Then you have to navigate, move forward ».
Saiz emphasizes that in order to overcome these deficits in the descents, perseverance and repetition of techniques are required: «Without regularity you cannot progress.
They tell me that I am a guru, but what I am selling is a
working method, a system.
there is no magic»
The mountain bike specialist exchanged information and confidences with the psychologist from Palma who was helping Enric.
He soon understood that among the runner's problems there was also a mental component.
was affected by not properly handling the transfer of leadership of Alejandro Valverde
and the pressure that Movistar suffered to win UCI points to avoid losing category.
Both Unzué and Óscar Saiz agree that Mas could have become overwhelmed by excessive responsibility for being the leader of the group.
If you don't respond, you fall and that causes a loss of confidence
The important thing is to assume how quickly you can recover, ”says Saiz.
Psychological-sports therapy had immediate effects.
In less than a month, Enric appeared in the Vuelta without anguish.
“It was amazing, just as quickly as the problem appeared,
just as quickly it was fixed
In the Vuelta he was able to assume his status as team leader.
By taking this step, he put an end to all doubts," says Unzué.
Enric's environment ensures that now, after overcoming difficulties, he is stronger, more open, and more communicative.
"It is possible that this is the case,
but I am still the same
," says the reborn Balearic runner.
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