the choice of bikes, ratios, gearboxes -

the choice of bikes, ratios, gearboxes -

Of Marco Bonarrigo

Two top-level athletes made diametrically opposite choices: Thomas went up to reconnaissance by car, Primoz at walking pace, the first wanted a classic bike, the second a gravel bike

First thesis: Geraint Thomas lost the 106th Giro d'Italia yesterday because, after a lifetime chasing the marginal time gains postulated by the Ineos/Sky scientists, he first made a serious mistake (the choice of gears) and then changed the bike at the base of the climb with the clumsiness of a beginner. Second thesis: given the large patches of salt on his soaked body and his face distorted at the start, the Welshman was boiled over, overwhelmed by the fatigue of the Three Peaks.

The chronicle of the uphill time trial, Roglic's feat: READ HERE

However it went, never as in yesterday's Tarvisio-Monte Lussari have two top-level athletes approached a time trial in diametrically opposite ways. Since the morning, when G. got on the reconnaissance car (superficiality? tiredness?) while Primoz wanted to explore the last three kilometers at walking pace, studying every change in slope and absorbing the energy of the fans. Different technological choices. Courageously like a hipster that of Rogla, who had a bike mounted identical to the very fashionable gravel bikes with which bikers roam around on dirt roads, focusing on absolute agility and on the better way of twirling his legs like a whisk than planting himself. Classic is that of Thomas who used an uphill model, lightened in some points, assuming he was capable of releasing more power than his rival. Or even, the malicious ones explain, because the technical sponsor of Ineos does not have a set like that of the Slovenian.

In the very delicate phases of heating, Roglic chose to rev the engine at a medium pace, pedaling (unusually) up to 90 seconds before the start. Thomas, on the other hand, exhausted himself at very high speeds, wrapped up in his pink bodysuit and in a refrigerated jacket, spending the last few minutes wrapped up in thoughts of him, slumped in a chair. It seemed like extreme concentration, it was perhaps resignation.

After the first 10 kilometres, when changing bikes, the Slovenian switched from one frame to another with readiness from F1 (5”8) keeping the time trial helmet on while the Welshman took 16” to grab the new bike and put on a normal model, uselessly kept in the freezer to refresh his head and ideas.

But the abyss between the two began to dig in the first section of the hard climb, with Rogla's legs milling very quickly a little boy's report while Thomas's seemed to push two blocked pistons: those extra 11 centimeters the Welshman had to advance with each pedal stroke were slowly poisoning his calves and thighs. After 11 kilometres, Thomas lost only 2", after the first 3.5 verticals he suffered 16", more than those thrown away in the gearbox, then his delay increased to 29" and for the first time in this Giro Roglic overtook his opponent in the general classification wearing the virtual pink jersey.

The tables seemed to be reversed when Primoz skidded into a gutter causing the chain to fall off: but Captain Jumbo did not lose heart, did not dismount and, pushing off again, picked up the pace again coolly and gradually. When, a few hundred meters later, it was seen that the gap instead of decreasing had increased (37"), it was clear that Roglic would have won. Thomas paid his friend/rival every honor and also honored yesterday's event with a second place. The Giro d'Italia presented him with the bill: no one has ever won the pink race at the age of 37.

May 28, 2023 (change May 28, 2023 | 07:33)

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