Thomas and Roglic the Giro is a mental challenge: today the winner -

Thomas and Roglic the Giro is a mental challenge: today the winner -

Of Gaia Piccardi, sent to Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Geraint Thomas, the Welsh veteran clinging to his last dream or Primoz Roglic, the Slovenian former ski jumper who always changes bikes? Today's hill climb decides everything

Santiago Buitrago, hero of the day, collapses in the arms of the masseur, Derek Gee, Canadian of Team Israel, a disjointed puppet on the asphalt: one foot here, one leg there, the eyes closed of those who, reopening them, are afraid to see ghosts again; around a court of silent spectators, in respectful silence of the suffering of others.

HERE the report of the stage on the Cime di Lavaredo

It's them, the boy from Bogot on his second victory in the Giro and the generous follower always on the run, who are the first to cross the finish line on Cima Coppi. The Three Peaks they spare us the snow that whitened Nibali's triumph (2013) but they don't betray (invasion of people in the most beautiful natural stadium in the Dolomites: Never seen so many people for a very open Giro: the third of the last six years that will be decided only at the end says Urbano Cairo, president of Rcs MediaGroup), leaving open a race that after 19 stages and 3,335.6 km still can't decide: the Welsh veteran clinging to the last dream or
the Slovenian former ski jumper
, who yesterday in Cortina, before the final ascent, changed his bike for the umpteenth time, a habit he brings back from Abruzzo? The values ​​in the field are the same, without the monsters (Pogacar, Van der Poel, Van Aert, Evenepoel back on the bike after Covid) a cycling in the hands of those who know how to manage themselves better, and experience (18 Grand Tours Thomas, 11 Roglic ) those two don't miss it.

There is the usual escape, with the group of the best chasing. Placid rhythms: at the foot of the Tre Cime climb (the Giau has not made a selection), it is clear that the escape will come (moved dedication by Buitrago to his Colombia and to the sacrifices of his family to make him ride his bike). Eyes fixed behind: having given up on taking the most beautiful and noble stage, between Wales and Slovenia it will be a game of chess, with the bishops called to play a decisive role. Inside the downpour, and then in the shafts of light that rain down from fickle clouds, is directed by De Plus, Thomas's lieutenant who, on the captain's orders, shoots until he has breath in his lungs, preventing isolated shots. When Dennis, Jumbo man, changes pace on the first hairpin bends of the Tre Cime, the Ineos put the leash on him. Up all together, in a jubilation of the crowd (Bais forced to slalom among the fans: extremely dangerous), towards the Auronzo refuge, the goal of all pain. Arensman escorts Thomas towards the last kilometre, the torture of the hardest ramps, the most isolated big Almeida, who seems to be waiting for the coup de grace.

Less than 1.8 km from the finish, Roglic takes off. Thomas replies seraphic. At less than 500 meters, Mr. G tries but his rival not only stays attached to him, he overtakes him with a flick of the tail. A few meters, three seconds for the general classification (now the Slovenian at +26" from the leader), for the clear message: after the crisetta on Bondone (25" left up there), Roglic is there. All postponed to today, in the unprecedented uphill time trial on Monte Lussari: Never done such a stage, it will be a tremendous effort - Thomas's analysis, who will start last and favored by the treasure trove of seconds -. Roglic is running well, anything can happen. No, I don't need to hate him to beat him, in fact in the end I'll buy him a beer. This round a mind game that requires concentration, breaks are not allowed. 18,600 meters to live or die. a hesitant Giro, which today entrusts its verdict to the stopwatch and the climb.

May 27, 2023 (change May 27, 2023 | 07:27)

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