Mental strength is the secret of Mads Pedersen, the 23-year-old Danish phenomenon, who gave his country the first rainbow jersey in its history as World Champion. It takes powerful legs and an iron mentality to overcome the elements; six and a half hours of incessant rain, the cold and the temptation to get off the bicycle, and even to abandon cycling after such a day, in which only 46 cyclists of 197 participants finished.
But while the others claudicated, Pedersen did not. Mental strength Not surprisingly, the races he likes most are the Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, where the will is loosened while the bike wobbles and vibrates on the cobblestones. "You have to be very strong for that," he said, another component of the illustrious generation of young cyclists who begin to displace veterans.
Everything was triggered a few minutes before, when Mathieu Van der Poel, the grandson of Raymond Poulidor, who won three bronze medals in the World Cups of the sixties of the last century, the sky came over him and the operating system fell out , and Davide Cassani, the Italian coach, opened a range of possibilities. The defection of the Dutchman was brutal. It was part of the iron group that was going to play the rainbow jersey. Half a kilometer before he had heard the pleasant sound of the bell announcing that he had only one more lap left. And Van del Poel was in all the pools. But suddenly he unplugged. Without anyone attacking, he ran out of strength 12 kilometers after arrival. A meter, two, a hundred, climbing pine nuts, lowering plate to soften the pedaling, but there was no hope. He passed the squad that came from behind. It's over. He lost eleven minutes in twelve kilometers.
And then Italy sighed, with two cyclists in the group of four: Moscon and Trentin. Two bullets in the bedroom, next to Swiss Kung and Danish Pedersen, four titans in the last effort. But in Oaks Bates, the last tack, Moscon also fainted, which lost a few meters. Mateo Trentin was left alone, with no alternative, and although he knew he had the medal secured, he became nervous in the last meters. He suffered for responsibility and cramps. He threw the sprint, which under other conditions could have been described as dry, although in the rain it sounded mocking, too soon. His strength failed him and Pedersen advanced. The Swiss Kung already knew that bronze was a prize for him and did not even dispute the other two medals.
It was not Valverde's day, that he saw from the hotel how Pedersen received the jersey he wore for a year, but it was not really anyone's day, nor of the fans who stood on a firm foot in the rain, which sometimes It was less intense, for being optimistic, but that all day he hit the squad in his private hell on the roads of Yorkshire, who did not get into the county's natural park to avoid major evils.
Cyclists were shaking their sleeves, turned into sponges, as in an exorcism, to take the water off; some got rid of the booties; all suffered in the black army, the color of the raincoats, which circulated without being able to avoid soaking and torture for almost six and a half hours that seemed six weeks.
By the time Valverde decided that it was not worth following, the squad had already lost more than fifty cyclists, including some illustrious. To Gilbert, who suffered a fall in Pairlament Street, already within the circuit, before the first step by goal. He had hopes and lost them at once. He was accompanied in disgrace by the promising Evenepoel, who came to his aid. The two were off the hook and sore. Roglic, who had had the courage, or the unconscious daring to get into the first getaway, along with Carapaz and Quintana, - three winners of great laps - also escaped to the box of his team as soon as he found a hole in the fences, Exhausted and ice cream. In Spain, García Cortina had been the first victim, with stomach problems. Then Valverde, and after him a rosary of hopeless cyclists, with the focus out of focus.
In the Spanish team only the Izagirre brothers showed their faces when they saw that nothing else they had to do. Ion tried to link in the last kilometers with the escapes that were going to dispute the medals, but finally the thread broke and he resigned himself to stay in the platoon. He finished sixteenth. His brother Gorka was ninth. On a sad day, Harrogate crowned a new world champion, Mads Pedersen, another example of the new generation of cyclists who come, and who in 2019 have hatched in the peloton.