The ‘Pistolero’, twice winner of the pink race, judges the last time trial of the 2023 edition: “Cement, long, slopes: it will be a gigantic effort of 40′, a terrible thing. Solid Thomas, but it is a climb for Roglic”
Let’s go to Alberto Contador, who was dancing uphill on the pedals. A mixture of beauty and efficiency, poetry and performance (in terms of results) that marked an era: seven great Tours won (the Giro twice, the Tour twice and its Tour even three), the greatest climbs tamed lightly , as if they were the most natural thing in the world. So let’s go to Alberto Contador to tell us what awaits us, 18.6 kilometers from the 750 meters of Tarvisio to the 1,766 meters of Monte Lussari, the first 10.7 floors, at a constant 2%, on a bike lane, then the bikes and the world changes and there are 7.9 kilometers of ascent, of which 7.3 of pure and fierce vertical ascent, with peaks at 22-23% in the middle of the forest. A concrete path with a knurling to give the bike more grip, especially in the rain.
Let’s go to Contador’s to blow ourselves up.
“I tried. I did it all standing on the pedals.”
In what sense to stand? At 22-23%?
“Well yes, it’s my natural style. Not everyone will do it like that, Thibaut Pinot I guess so, and some others too. It depends on your way of riding. Thomas, Roglic and Almeida are usually sitting in the saddle.”
What rise should we expect?
“A material never seen before, very hard, in the final seven and a half kilometers there is only a small moment of respite, let’s say towards the end. A very small illusion. But it never goes below 15%.
Can we compare it to some other climb?
“For me it’s even harder than Zoncolan. But that’s not the point either.”
“It’s just that it’s a climb like no other, you’re on a small path, in the middle of the forest, it’s a strange feeling, almost lonely. And you go up to 8-10 kilometers per hour. time, alone against yourself. I am convinced that it will be the toughest time trial in the history of a Grand Tour.”
Do you have something like that in Spain?
“No, I wouldn’t say that. There are some that may resemble Monte Lussari, but we are talking about short climbs, two or three kilometers. Like the Bola del Mundo, in Madrid, but that’s three kilometers or a little more. But seven and a half no, this is really too much.”
There is no asphalt, does this affect?
“Yes of course. When there is asphalt it is always easier. With cement, on the other hand, the climb becomes even tougher. On the other hand, however, there is good traction for the bike. complicates everything.”
Will everyone change bikes after the first part?
“The big favorites certainly do, the others don’t have to.”
How much time is lost changing bikes?
“At least twenty seconds, if not more. The problem is that you stall when you’re going fast: you have to go from 50-55 kilometers per hour to zero and then go back up. There’s also a problem with picking up the pace on a different bike “.
In Cortina, before the last climb, Roglic changed bikes and put on a single chainring.
“It’s a bit like his way of running. He likes to be out of the saddle for a long time, surely he will have analyzed everything to the millimeter. But in the Lussari we don’t talk about millimeters: you have to be ready for slopes of 22-23%. Tremendous” .
Does anything change without the flagships?
“No, in the end nothing changes. I am sure that the sporting directors of the bikes will still be able to talk to the riders and give them references. But then, what references? This uphill time trial is more of a challenge against yourself. In the end, the accounts.”
Only the time trial is missing, and we have the first two separated by twenty-six seconds. Who won?
“How do I know. But I would say Geraint Thomas. I have always seen him as very solid, he is the only one who has never had a bad day. In fact, he has never had a single meter of crisis since then.” the beginning of the Giro”.
Is Roglic thinking about the time trial that cost him the Tour?
“This will be different, and also the same. Different because I had the leader’s jersey at the time. Now it’s just the opposite situation: Thomas is in the jersey, and he’s second. But for sure he’ll think about it. It’s always a time trial in the one where you do a great Giro. In that sense it is the same”.
Will the recovery from last night be worth a lot after a stage like Tre Cime?
“I’m sure it will count. After the letter from the UCI and the controversy, no one has been able to bring down the helicopter, in the end everyone will have had the same conditions, everyone will have arrived late at the hotel.”
Will it be a duel between Thomas and Roglic or is there still room for Almeida?
“Of course there is room.”
He has one minute to recover and in the last two days he has always lost.
“Yes, but it will be a very difficult day. It is completely different from all the others. We are not talking about a normal stage, but a gigantic effort of 40′. The team doesn’t count, the public doesn’t count. , tactic doesn’t count. Yes, I think Almeida still has this chance.”
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