The crazy choice of Asgren and company in the Tour de France wasn't crazy. Van Aert's was right

The crazy choice of Asgren and company in the Tour de France wasn't crazy.  Van Aert's was right

The Dane, with Abrahamsen, Campenaerts and, later, Eenkhoorn, mocked the group, "downgrading" the sprint sprint only to sprint for fourth place. The Belgian champion leaves the Grande Boucle to stay close to his wife about to give birth. The correct choice, the only possible one

Thinking of being able to challenge the will of the group in three in a stage where there is little uphill and still many sprinters and supporters is an idea if not crazy at least insane. Especially if the group of seconds does not leave many, at most a little more than ninety. However, if you are tall, strong and resistant, and Jonas Abrahamsen, Kasper Asgren And Victor Campenaerts high strong and resistant they are, three shoots of runners, it's all a little less crazy, while remaining insane. If at some point it arrives as well Pascal Eenkhoorn, who like the other three is a pine trunk on a bicycle and who is also a teammate of one of the three, Campenaerts, here is where the idea becomes even less crazy and a little less insane. And so from "are we really doing this?”, they switched to a “why not? Are you sure it's really impossible?”. Weird people the runners, people with little rationality. Which, when calculating costs and benefits, underestimate the former and overestimate the latter. Optimistic people.

Jonas Abrahamsen, Kasper Asgren, Victor Campenaerts and Pascal Eenkhoorn relied on optimism, on their legs, above all on their ardor. They had nothing to lose. They have lost nothing, except second after second. They've lost all but one, maybe a couple. Those enough not to be caught (with the exception of Victor Campenaerts, but he had done gregarious work for the fastest companion): first Kasper Asgren, second Pascal Eenkhoorn, third Jonas Abrahamsen, fourth Jasper Philipsen, first of the group, once again best sprinter: it has always been like this up to now, with one exception, a hiccup.

Kasper Asgren in this Tour de France had already broken away four times, he had been chased for 368 kilometres, they had always caught him. He had nothing better to do today than try again. There wasn't a sprinter to help, not a captain fighting for a great GC position to protect. The only thing he could do was try to lift a very colorless Grande Boucle for his team, the Soudal-Quick Step, with the exception of Julian Alaphilippe's constant, always unsuccessful attempts to break away from the group and his legs which persisted in turning slower than he would have liked. He seemed to have chosen the wrong day to try again, it was the right one. He helped make her the right one. He had no certainties, there are never any on a bicycle, he built one pedal after pedal.

There are never certainties in cycling, it's true. But today one has materialized. The 2023 Tour de France will be the first in which Wout van Aert has not won a stage. It had never happened. In 2019 he had won one, in 2020 two, in 2021 three, in 2022 even complete with the green shirt worn in Paris. He won't see Paris this year Wout van Aert. He took another route, that of home. There are more important things in life than trying to win a stage. Like the birth of a child, the second. The Belgian champion preferred to stay close to his wife.

There is nothing unprofessional about choosing Wout van Aert as was said at the start of the Tour, during the Tour, today. Wout van Aert pulled, chased, escaped, set the pace on the flat and uphill, broke the pace of others, sprinted. He worked for himself and for Jonas Vingegaard. She left the group because it had to be done, because it takes two to have a child and it's good to be two when he is born. Because if in Italy we have one of the shortest paternity leave in Europe it is also because it is believed that there is little professionalism in Wout van Aert's choice to leave the Tour de France to be close to his wife.

Of course it would have been nice to see van Aert in these final stages, it would have been nice to see him sprint and chase, try again with the mad desire to dedicate the victory to the new born. He will have time to do it. Not at the Tour, elsewhere.

Tour de France, 18th stage: the order of arrival and the general classification

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