Tadej Pogacar has won everything he has raced when he has transformed into a cyclist of big or small laps. Primoz Roglic, has almost succeeded, less when his young compatriot has crossed the road, or has been hit by misfortune, as happened in Paris-Nice, which he lost almost in the last pedal stroke when it seemed that he was going to achieve the first major victory of 2021.
La Itzulia lives from this Monday until Saturday the duel in Basque lands of the fashionable couple, of two athletes who have placed the map of Slovenia at the top of the class board to become the two best cyclists of the present in multi-day races.
Pogacar took the Tour win from Roglic when it seemed that his countryman, 11 years older ( 31-22 ), was facing the final time trial with the climb to La Planche des Belles Filles as a procedure before the walk through the Champs Elysees. Roglic beat Pogacar in the 2019 Vuelta although the truth is that at that time the young cyclist of Joxean Fernández Matxin, the director of the Emirates team where the Slovenian pearl races, debuted in a three-week race and had all the road to learn.
Cycling on the offensive
The Basque round, as happened to the Volta, is no longer a preparatory race where the pedal stars who sign up run it thinking only of training with a number on their back as they did a lifetime in a cycling that began to change in the past decade. Now everyone goes with the knife in their mouth, whether in the Catalan race, in Itzulia or in any appointment of several days.
Some sign up thinking about the Giro and others about the Tour (the Vuelta is still a long way off in spring). But if they manage to stand out and even better, a victory is something that they take in case things go wrong. Pogacar and RoglicThey are one of those who do not forgive.
And, deep down, this offensive way of running does nothing but motivate the spectator who knows that it will hardly get bored in at least five of the six stages – the fifth is the only foreseeable sprint day – designed in the Return to the Basque Country.
Because, in addition, there are more guests to the cycling party apart from the Slovenian duo. With the number one appears Ion Izagirre , the last winner of the race before last year’s suspension due to the pandemic. As a Basque, winning the home race is an incentive and the Astana rider performs well in stage tests of a few days.
But it is that Alejandro Valverde repeats , after fourth place in the Volta, accompanied by Enric Mas . And with them Adam Yates , winner in Barcelona, who leads the Ineos with a richer Richard Carapaz after his experience in Catalonia. As if that were not enough, the British team has also entered Tao Geoghegan Hart, the winner of the Giro that this year has changed Italy for the Tour. The winners of the three great rounds of 2020 are therefore cited in Euskadi.
Two high ends
Itzulia is also attended by the main Basque star, Mikel Landa , along with his partner Pello Bilbao . Landa (second in 2018 after Roglic) will try an old challenge that he has pursued for years to try to register his name as the winner of the test.
It will be six intense days, until Saturday, with two finishes on top (Ermualde, in the third stage, and Arrate, in the last, the place where Roglic prevailed in the first stage of the Vuelta). This Monday, the festival begins in Bilbao with a 13.9-kilometer time trial that includes the final climb to the Etxebarria wall with ramps that reach 20%. Every day by Eurosport and Esport3 (ETB, in the Basque Country).
The Great Writer and The Passionate Poet As Well, He Graduated from University Of Florida in Journalism and Brad have around 12 years of experience in news and media section.