Showcasing the strength and intelligence of a single winner Ecuador in Fuji. Van Aert, silver after an exhibition, and Pogakar complete the best Olympic podium in cycling history
He raised his arms at the Fuji Autodrome with a spirit whose history is known. Richard Capraz, gold of effort, of opportunity, an Olympic success for Ecuador, only knew of these glory thanks to marcher Jefferson Preese. Among the most powerful people, Carapaz was the smartest, protesting at Mikuni Pass, which everyone suspected when he attacked. He left with Brandon McNulty and finished the American on a steep slope with four miles to spare. An exhibition to remember.
And a podium that has never seen such spectacular cycling at the Olympic Games, as next to it is Vout van Aert’s silver and Tadej Pogakar’s bronze. The two men who won the most in the recent Tour, for some reasons and others, played it in the millimeter sprint with the rest.
Richard smiles, cheering his “mijitos”, in a country delight. Despite your efforts to brave yourself against Pogakar and Vingegaard, spend your sleepless nights at the Grande Bowl. The lone wolf on the Japanese streets, because I barely had a companion, Jhontan Narvaez.
The heat did as much damage as anticipated. This was a leak test and no more leaks. Only when the moment of truth came did Pogacar attack the chosen ones, hardly a handful among whom there had never been a Spaniard.
Initially, Italy was most inclined to bring the show to life. He showed ambition when Giulio Ciccone rented a two-mile leash to get to the top of Mount Fuji, tall, sprawling and trembling. It still came as a shock to the larger squad, which all morning remotely and calmly watched the day’s high school getaway, which had such a wonderfully nicknamed Sagan (not Peter, his brother Jurak).
The tremors of Ciccone hardened Alejandro Valverde. Before that, Omar Fraley had already bowed out. It was a bad omen, as the day before was positive for assistant Joseba Alleguzabal, who had sowed uncertainty in the previous hours in the Spanish rooms of the Olympic Village. nothing bad.
But the real dance took place on the first ramp of the Mikuni Pass, a small Mortirolo six kilometers average 10%. Belgium also lost to Evenpoel by increasing their pace. And Pogakar couldn’t resist anymore. He attacked violently and only McNulty and Woods could wheel him.
They didn’t open much of a gap because Van Aert – what an exhibition, some silver so well deserved – was no longer going to stop shooting, whether it went back or forward. They all suffer on slopes in Mikuni that do not allow us to calculate very much. And, finally, before being crowned, the select group playing for Olympic gold gathered at the top.
If Mikuni made the pick for strongest, the rough terrain up to Kagasake Pass (4.7% at 2.2 kilometers) was going to be gold. Ah smart, because these races are so often cold-blooded as the classics. The question is about the feet, also the head. It was McNulty and Carapaz who took advantage of the flaws, the vanity at the right time, when the others were looking at each other. Ecuadorians and Americans soon learned that they were, in fact, preceded by a unique opportunity. He took the crown with half a minute.
But there was one unrepentant man who decided that things could not stay that way. Van Aert is the perfect place for cycling. Without help or aides, he dragged and dragged until he came across two escapees. When Carapaz pushed for the gold, McNulty also lost the silver, ending with Arizona. And in the sprint for the podium, the photo finish, the Belgian grabbed the silver of pure honour.