Pogacar already has problems with the “silent enemy.” Did he make a mistake by not giving up the pink? – International Cycling

Pogacar already has problems with the “silent enemy.” Did he make a mistake by not giving up the pink? – International Cycling
Pogacar already has problems with the “silent enemy.” Did he make a mistake by not giving up the pink? – International Cycling

Tadej Pogacar attended the Giro as a big favorite, so much so that it was a possibility that he would wear pink from start to finish of the event. That did not happen, although it was almost the same because the Slovenian took the most prestigious Maglia in stage 2 and seems on track to win the race with 20 days as leader.

And although the one from UAE only increases his figure and place in history, it must be said: he encountered a kind of problem very early in the Italian event. Basically it is the Maglia Rosa. As? Yes, being the leader in a three-week round is an honor that few can give themselves throughout their career, but in the case that concerns us, said gift is not necessary and the context must be analyzed.

Being a leader has benefits and generates pride, although it also causes the famous silent wear. While the entire platoon recovers its legs, the Slovenian feeds himself by walking (many times with food that is not provided by his staff but by the organization) and complying with all the protocols and obligations of his position. And that which may even be nice today, is practically unsustainable over three weeks or, perhaps, will take its toll on the Tour (to which he will still go as the top favorite due to Vingegaard’s absence and the absence – because there is none – of others of his size). That said, he should not pull the rope, because even though he is from the generation that changes paradigms daily, he was a two-time champion of the Grande Boucle, until he stopped being so…

In addition to the boss’s commitments, his gregarious members also carry the load in competition. It is in the unwritten rules of cycling that the leading block must pull the peloton. And although Pogi is an alien, the rest of the mortals (his companions) suffer from such a task. Furthermore, UAE does not stand out for its power in the ports, and it would be a mistake to punish the legs of the gregarious beyond the days in which teams with sprinters will give up.

In the past, Tadej carried out feats in every sense and, to achieve them, he had a share of fortune that it is not advisable to try to repeat. The most likely thing is that he will not find allies in other squads again, nor will he win without squires in the ports, or that those punctures and breakdowns that eluded him will “visit” him this season. It is part of pedal sport and, sooner or later, it will be his turn.

Pogacar is strong, for sure. He has already made interesting margins, but with half a Giro on the horizon and the Tour closer than expected, any excess will be paid dearly. In the last few hours, the friendly rider spoke of an additional drawback that not everyone considers: “I am grateful for the affection of the fans, but sometimes it goes to extremes, such as the number of selfies they ask of me,” he revealed.

“A signature would be easier, but photos take a long time,” concluded Pogacar, who arrives a couple of hours late at the hotel every day after completing podiums, interviews, controls and fans. Not only that, we cannot forget his “cold”, which invites us to think about massive contact with people whose body has the lowest defenses and is susceptible to catching a virus. Like every high performance athlete.

Hopefully it is not as analyzed by Geraint Thomas, who considered that his colleague’s weakness was the desire to win constantly and, here, it led him to be the leader from stage 2. And although he has provided ample evidence of the potential to deal with the situation in question here, perhaps it would have been better to give the lead to the first breakaway in turn who did not represent a real danger in the general classification. There are plenty of volunteers to temporarily lead teams with no real chance of a title for whom it will be a triumph to take over from Klanec.

Until then, the prodigious athlete will battle with a low-profile adversary who steals hours of rest: the backstage of the event and all the obligations that come with being the best.

Pablo Palermo

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