If Sagan does not win, Ulissi wins, say the wise men. Sagan stays on the second wall, the Calaone (a slope of two kilometers at 10%) and, 15 kilometers further on, in Monselice, in the middle of the endless Padana plain, wins Ulissi, the specialist in the matter. He does it for half a wheel, after a tight sprint, in front of the unexpected Almeida, tenth day in pink and determined, it is not known whether to win the Giro or to leave his first strong, youthful personality marked pink corsa, his first big.
Generational issue, and its gap, every day more colorful and apparent, between him and those of his time, those who were born in the years of the turn of the century, and those who like Nibali, Fuglsang, Kelderman, keep the fort of the old essences .
It is a stage of transition and of specialists. A stage that the old people want to go through with the least possible expense because the next day, and it is already stage 14, is the first big day of a Giro that, like every year, focuses on the last week, as if first were without more observation and wear.
They think everything about Saturday, the prosecco time trial, from Conegliano, where Bruseghin raises donkeys and plants cartizze vines to make his splendid sparkling wine, to Valdobbiadene, 34 kilometers of continuous up and down and a wall (it would not be the Giro if there were no wall, of course), the di Ca ‘del Poggio, a kilometer at 12% (and a few meters at 19%) that will nail cyclists seven kilometers after starting (and not only Ganna, who is saved, is a favorite , also Almeida, who finished second in Palermo in a time trial of almost 60 on average).
Almeida does not think about the next day, when he can further secure his leadership. Think of the now, in the now. And follow his inspiration and don’t drown his desire in fear, as the masters of old cycling advise. Ulissi attacks at the Calaone and quickly Almeida jumps on his wheel. There is a group of about twenty, without sprinters, without Démare or Sagan, even, who have all been asphyxiated. The leader has three companions, and instead of breathing easy, getting on the wheel, as Nibali and company do, and letting the kilometers pass and whatever has to happen, he prefers to be the protagonist. He decides to win the stage, to color the race with his verve even more. His Deceuninck pull hard. The sprinters do not arrive. He doesn’t win, but finishes second. Six bonus seconds and a name, yours, spoken by fans with more respect every day.
Matter of style.