Louis Meintjes, the winner of the stage, climbed the face of Les Praeres, didn’t think twice and fully clothed himself climbed into the cold water of the river. “Nothing better than that,” said Hans de Myttenaere, his team’s Intermarché doctor. A few kilometers away, Juan Ayuso met an acquaintance who was driving. “Can you drop me off? I’m exhausted,” he asked; “I know it’s 300 meters, but I can’t get any further.” Thyssen Arensmann may have had a worse time but when he reached the finish line after the time trial he became dizzy and fell to the ground, severe heat stroke. “It was a shock, but he’s more or less recovered,” said Matthhew Winston, director of DSM. These three are examples of the toughness of this Vuelta, perhaps not so much because of the course as because of the pace of the peloton and the breakaways, because of the change in temperature and of course because of some breakneck climbs. To this we must add the positive for Covid – there are already 22 victims and yesterday, among others, Simon Yates (5th) and Pavel Sivakov (9th) retired – and the falls… But fortunately from Murcia to Cabo de Gata The Peloton paused from which Kaden Groves (BikeExchange) emerged victorious in the absence of Sam Bennett the Conqueror, winner of the first two mass sprints and of course knocked out by covid.
“Les Praeres was a massacre because it was a real wall,” declared former cyclist Purito Rodríguez; “It’s going to be a tough Vuelta”. Fernando Escartín, former runner and technical director of the race, saw it differently: “They had a rest day and are coming from a time trial, so they will be more rested in a stage that should be calmer.” But the teams don’t agree on that . “With such long transfers – from Breda to Bilbao and from Oviedo to Alicante – there is no time to recover,” defended Miguel Núñez, a massage therapist at Kern Pharma, who was a little concerned because José Félix Parra after the stages in Asturias one had a lot of pain in his head; “No matter how much salt you drink and hydrate, it takes its toll.” Myttenaere supported him: “We suffered a lot at the weekend. And that we are not even half a kilometer away and the hardest part is still ahead of us. But we are glad to be in Spain, because here there is ice everywhere and it makes rest easier. We couldn’t find him on the tour…”. And Matxin, UAE team manager, intervened, revealing that a rehabilitation specialist from the University of Elche had arrived on Tuesday to help osteopath Dario Marini prepare the cyclists: “Asturias has been tough but the stage to Cabo de Gata is perfect to to recover “.
Almost everyone wanted that. “Although the wind is predicted, we hope there will be no fans and it will be a day for the sprinters,” Matxin said. “We are interested in a leak, we have to accept the invitation to the Vuelta,” said Burgos-BH; “But this train runs a lot.” Núñez said: “Maybe not so much in Holland, but since we arrived in Spain the peloton is on fire. If they keep going like this, somebody’s going to suffer muscularly.” Myttenaere pointed out: “The boys are hoping that there won’t be too much exercise for a day”. Winston concluded, “Hopefully, because we’re interested in making the sprint with Degenkolb.”
And although the three invited teams – one from Kern Parma (Vojtech Repa), another from Euskaltel (Joan Bou) and another from Burgos (Jetse Bol) – managed to escape, they were absorbed 26 kilometers from the finish stage, this once yes , it was resolved in the sprint when Australian Groves, gas in his legs, enforced his law on the beach at Cabo de Gata ahead of Van Poppel and Merlier.
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