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Olympic Games Tokyo 2021: The heroic gold of Anna Keisenhofer, the doctor in mathematics and the amateur cyclist who became invisible to the peloton

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Olympic Games Tokyo 2021: The heroic gold of Anna Keisenhofer, the doctor in mathematics and the amateur cyclist who became invisible to the peloton

The Austrian won the Olympic title in Fuji, taking advantage of the fact that most of the favourites, without earpieces, did not know that he was still ahead of them as the last survivor of the escape.

Anna Keisenhofer celebrates her gold medal.Michael SteeleReuters

anemic van veletonOne of the two best cyclists in the world, a Dutchman from the Movistar team, accelerated alone toward the finish line of the Fuji circuit and raised his arms. from behind, italian Alyssa Longo He thinks he has won the money. Next one, Belgium lotte kopeckyHe knew he was in third place and had run out of medals. An exception. Almost all cyclists who made the final group in the women’s road cycling event believed it was the final result, with van Vleuten making good forecasts, which marked her as the top favorite with her compatriots. Anna Van Der Bregen, who sacrificed himself in the last mile to pave the way for them. as well mawi garka, Better Spanish, with a deserving 12th place. or British Lizzie Dignon, who were quick to congratulate Movistar Cyclist on the BBC.

And yet, nothing was as best the squad had imagined, because what almost never happens happened. There was a cyclist who escaped from the squad’s control, which he believed had neutralized all members of the day’s recess. But no, Austrian Anna Keisenhofer was still ahead, taking advantage of the fact that in sports, like the world championships, earpieces are prohibited. Under normal circumstances, the directors would have radioed their cyclists that the Austrian was still headed for gold, but in Fuji they could not. Everything was in the hands of cyclists who thought Israel sapira and polished plichta They were the last two survivors to escape, having been neutralized in the last two kilometres. But they were not.

So as Van Vleuten celebrated and the rest of the cyclists greeted him, a woman was lying next to a fence, exhausted, with no company other than the modest Austrian Union assistant, trying to imbibe such a victory. She was trying something she had never imagined. . Because Kissenhofer was not only in the pool, but he is not a professional either. It was at that time, after winning the 2016 Spanish Cup, being the only foreigner to have achieved it, taking advantage of the fact that she was pursuing her doctorate in mathematics at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. One of the classics of the international team, Lotto, offered him a contract, but nothing came out as the Austrian had imagined.

After a few months as a professional, counting his career by dropout, Keisenhofer decided to throw in the towel. She explained this herself in a post on her Facebook, in which she confessed that she suffered from amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) and osteoporotic density in parts of her spine. Health issues with disillusionment with life focused on achieving results and a passion for improving performance parameters. Elite sport, it must be remembered from time to time, is not easy. “Persistent fatigue, sleep and eating disorders, lack of motivation, lack of interest and energy for anyone, poor memory and concentration… I have become so used to it that I have forgotten how beautiful life can be,” She told with rawness in June 2017.

“We didn’t know there was anyone next”

Keisenhofer then decided to return to his native Austria and concentrate on his other passions, mathematics and university research, with doctoral and master’s degrees at Cambridge. He continued to cultivate his love of cycling, but as an amateur. In a country with little tradition and few cyclists, that amateur dedication served to declare its national time trial champion on the road between 2019 and 2021, and in 2019. There is no hope other than to enjoy these games, knowing that you are far inferior to ultra-professional rivals, and for this reason they were integrated into the initial escape, an opportunity to see the favorites before they play. .

Keisenhofer on the podium with van Vleuten (silver) and Longo (bronze).Reuters

Keisenhofer, 30, gave himself the pleasure of letting go of his fledgling comrades and being alone. Suddenly, they had the unimaginable opportunity to win an Olympic gold, while the most powerful Dutch team was left behind. “We didn’t know Keisenhofer, so we couldn’t underestimate someone we didn’t know. When we took Polish and Israeli, we thought we were going to sleep. We didn’t know that next There was another runner,” said Dutch van der Bregen, winner of the Giro two weeks ago, 15 today in Fuji.

Unaware of the confusion, Keisenhofer continued to paddle until exhaustion, until he reached the finish line and understood that the glory belonged to him. He could hardly get up on his bicycle without falling, a reflection of the effort he had made to accomplish an incredible feat, one of the great wonders of these sports, of mathematics that had left professional cycling four years earlier. A historic milestone before returning to Switzerland, particularly Lausanne, where he has been conducting postdoctoral research for four years. Now she’ll do it with her university diploma, along with an Olympic champion medal. This is the magic of games.