Tomorrow will be the departure point for the Tour from Bilbao, 2023. The initial time trial will be 13 kilometers long. In the second stage, wind will blow over 16 km of the Great Belt Bridge. This bridge hangs over the rough and cold Baltic Sea. Kasper Asgreen, a local cyclist, warns that "it blows from everywhere here."
An edition that will take place in the fifth stage will launch onto eleven sections of cobblestone paves, totalling almost 20 km. Covid, a microscopic enemy to the fear of losing everything just before you start the fight for victory, is also added. Yesterday, Tadej Pogacar lost Matteo Trentin by contagion. Everybody sweats for those long seconds it takes for an antigen test to determine whether or not they are allowed to proceed. Phew. The Planche des Belles Filles (7th), Col de Granon (1st), and the Alpe d'Huez (12th), Peyragudes (17th), and Hautacam (18th) are all located on the top. The final time trial, which covers 41 km, will continue if this edition is not completed. It will finish at the postcard of Rocamadour. This sacred city is located in the middle of the route.
Asgreen has ten Danish competitors in this Tour. For nine Spanish numbers. There has never been such a low Hispanic population since 1972. Denmark is home to less than six million people, Spain has 47. The options for the Spanish peloton are centered on Enric Mas, without Mikel Landa or Pello Bilbao who were in the Giro.
Eduardo Chozas is from another era. He opened the Col de Granon's history in 1986 with his victory. The giant, measuring 2,413m (11.3 km at 9.2%), will again be the finish line for the eleventh stage. As advance will have passed the Galibier summit. The Tour will arrive there having already passed through La Planche des Belles Filles on day seven. This is where Roglic was executed by Pogacar in the last time trial for the 2020 Tour. He also won his first Grande Boucle. He is still only 23 years old and is looking for the third.
You are welcome to the Granon. Roglic to him, Vingegaard to Vlasov to Dani Martinez to Enric Mas to Geraint Thomas... Chozas is a good recollection of that mineral mass. He was young and courageous in 1986. That's a great combination. He was able to fly more than 150 km and use ports that exhaust by simply naming them the Vars or the Izoard. The Granon was behind them, a feat that was unprecedented at the time. Chozas was being pursued, by a broken race, fueled by Bernard Hinault's sinking of his leader. Bernard Hinault was still wearing his last yellow jersey on that day. It was to be Greg LeMond at the top.
French television cameras were focused on the duel for lead. They didn't see the fugitive. He did not see his penance. It was his story: "With three kilometers left, my body told me enough. I didn't have the energy to continue, and I felt the cold sweat that comes with the slump. After two kilometers of pain, bordering on the limits of the agonizing, and feeling the inability to stand on the bike, it was time to let out a sigh of relief. The meters didn't pass !>>. Alan was on his carbon bike and he was riding a 39x24 speed gear. Slow motion. He was there. He reached for his arms and almost lost his balance. "I felt tired and hungry."
Urs Zimmermann and LeMond were the ones who buried Hinault. LeMond was able to force the Frenchman to fulfill his promise to him a year before, when he offered to be his leader in 1986. Hinault had to be honest with himself to keep his promise. LeMond was never satisfied and he continued to harass him. The American won his first Tour, and Hinault was awarded a farewell match. He was on his feet and ate down the last mile. They decided to lose the best.