They fall like flies. Paris-Nice descends from 80, about 30 from Tierreno, they already have 25 casualties in the Volta a Catalunya descending from the Pyrenees and slowly progressing to the last two decisive stages, and victories in the sprint at Villanova. La Geltrow for young Englishman Ethan Vernon, the 21-year-old jewel of Quick Step, who makes his debut among the greats; Almeida, thanks to the bonus of a flying target crafted by his partner Rui Costa, took the leader’s jersey from the 1s from Nairo Quintana; Saturday Montsant, Sunday Montjuc, and the United Arab Emirates are what are left on their heads. And Narrow smiles: “They’ll act like this, and we’ll work against it.”
Some of the biggest names – Porte, Sivakov, Simon Yates, Dumoulin, Kwiatkowski, Haig – went home before finishing the race. They all complain of the same thing, respiratory problems, fever, gastroenteritis. Gastrointestinal flu, flu in general. Valverde could not deliver two strong pedal strokes in a row. leg pain. Sore winter. A virus attacks the platoon. Your name? nobody knows. cold, rain in the south; Summer in the north. Many words, grilled chicken, pasta, anecdotes and coughs at the dinner table, with little scientific evidence. “To conclude, an etiological survey would be needed to know which is the virus that makes everyone sick, if it is the same virus, to know what we are talking about. ,” says Jose Ramón Eribas, an infectious disease specialist at Madrid’s La Paz Hospital. , which is shocked that discussions in the peloton have increased infection with other viruses, with the removal of masks and the most dire precautions imposed by the Covid pandemic, and that they only affect, as it seems, cyclists , not their mechanics, masseurs or directors who share life with them in hotels and races. “And there is no evidence or alarm or study that indicates that the development of immunity with COVID may have decreased protection against other viruses. Cyclists, however, have a limit to their safety when they are in better shape, and it is easier for them to become infected than non-athletes.
Cyclists are more prone to change in temperature, rain, cold, heat. In the summer they turn off the air conditioning in hotels, they wear long sleeves as soon as the sun sets, they drink the weather, they are delicate creatures who are too worried about any change.
The fear of a new virus being transmitted uncontrollably through the cycling squad does not permeate the team doctors, who, instead, speak of a new reality that emerges after the pandemic. “We are so obsessed with the Covid scare that we now act with extra discretion as soon as there are minimal symptoms,” explains Movistar doctor Alfredo Zuniga, who admits that in his team they only do PCR for Covid. Do tests, and do not use swabs that can identify various viruses that can cause flu-like symptoms. “The moment a runner feels a little sick, retire, and if he doesn’t have COVID, wait for the symptoms to pass.”
In Valverde’s team, prudence is linked to prevention. Before running again, all of his cyclists who have had covid undergo an echocardiogram and an electro to avoid pericarditis, a worrisome sequel.
in Van Aert, Belgium
In Catalonia, in the mountains of Tarragona bordering the Costa Dorada, rain and cold are announced this Saturday from the Volta and lock-ups, the scene of the new duel for the victory Narrows-Almeida, and half a dozen cyclists, min. In the second – Higuita, Ayuso, Poeles, O’Connor, Johansson, Guillaume Martin, Carapaz…- and waiting.
In Belgium, meanwhile, at a different pace and with the sun, and 22 degrees in short sleeves, Vout van Aert displays himself in the Harelbeke, the Flemish path and the mountains, and enthusiastically he does not pedal, he rides his bicycle, Light growth dances on velvet impulse, pure silk, and accelerates through the right channel to Paterburg and breaks all, Asgreen, number one, Mohoric, winner in San Remo, breakfasters near Girmay, Eritrea The guys, along with everyone except his Laporte teammate, whom he drops 42 kilometers from the finish line, and together they come and he wins the E3, such as the highway crossing the city, of the Tour of Flanders. The first classic of the great fortnight, for which he is a huge favourite. The Belgian champion, who has already won the opening race in Belgium, Omloop het Nieuwsblad, has the full support of the so-called Malaysian jumbo a month ago, his strategy jambosSo powerful – Benoot, Theunis – of the slow destruction of the adversary: what Quick Step did earlier, vanish in Flanders.