A finish of unspeakable emotion, of brutal beauty, of unsurpassed intensity gave Primoz Roglic the victory in the stage and, barring cosmic catastrophe, in the Giro. The Slovenian deserved the victory twice. First because he exhibited immense strength on the wall of Mount Lussari. And second because, in the middle of the climb, when he was doing the best intermediate times, the chain came off in a pothole. In a pothole of nothing, ambushed only for him, to increase an unhappy legend!
Putting the chain back on, almost tripping over the auxiliary who came to his aid and becoming painfully steep on the pedals in the middle of that ungrateful wall cost the unfortunate a handful of seconds. Primoz, gripped by despair and anguish, but driven by them, turned into rage, into rebellion against a fate so often adverse, stood triumphantly against what seemed inevitable. Against the defeat to Geraint Thomas and the elements.
Surely that other time trial, in the 2020 Tour, at the Planche des Belles Filles, would cross his mind when a childish wolf, a fierce compatriot with a novice smile named Tadej Pogacar snatched "in extremis" the triumph in the queen of racing. Cycling, life has now provided him with a sweet revenge in the midst of that despair and anguish that he has given for well spent, for well suffered, for well savored.
Only Roglic, with 44:23, at an average of 25.1 kms. per hour on a wall of 7.5 kilometers, of 22% maximum slope and 12.1% on average after a plain in which it was flying, it fell below 45 minutes. Thomas performed 45:03 and Joao Almeida, 45:05. In the general standings he leads the Briton by 14 seconds, the fourth lowest in the history of the Giro, and the Portuguese by 1:15. The shortest was established in 1948. Fiorenzo Magni took 11 seconds off Ezio Cecchi. Unforgettable performance of Roglic, a cyclist in his maturity, at 33 years and seven months.
The Giro "is a country for old people". In the cycling era of precocity, the race has been played in the last challenge by a man of 37 years and three days on Sunday and another, as has already been said, of 33 lengths. Roglic, forgive us Thomas, has prevented someone as veteran as the Briton from being crowned in Rome. At 37 years old "you can't" win a big round, although Chris Horner, won the 2013 Vuelta with 41 years and 328 days. The anomaly is of such caliber that it hardly counts. Horner, a rider of the bunch before 2013, never won a race again.
Fiorenzo Magni won the 1955 Giro at the age of 34 years and six months. But not with 37. Fermin Lambot did the same in the 1922 Tour with 36 years and 130 days. But not with 37. If Thomas had won, it would have been the merit of the runner and the demerit of the race. Wasn't it tough enough? Yes, it was. But cyclists softened it. The favourites were only used thoroughly, obviously, in the three time trial stages. In the most important in line, they attacked in a couple of them and in the last meters.
But the excitement on this Monte Lussari for the legend of the Giro, but the fierceness poured out has compensated for so much previous meekness. Roglic, at the border gates of his Slovenia, surrounded by flags of his country, wears pink. It suits him very well.
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