José Manuel Díaz, the French Delko rider, was the positive surprise for Spanish cycling last week. The 26-year-old from Jaén conquered the Tour of Turkey. Of the eight stages of this edition, seven decided to sprint (with four for a reborn Cavendish). Díaz won the only one with a mountainous finish, the fifth day, and since then he managed his narrow income to maintain the blue jersey of the leader. Finally, he finished a second ahead of Australian Jay Vine. In this way, he achieved the third victory of his career: he won a stage in the Tour of Rwanda in 2020 and now, on Turkish soil, stage and general. As an amateur, he won the Memorial Valenciaga in 2016 ahead of Carapaz.
“For me this victory is very important for the future, a special joy, personal and for the Delko “, he highlights. This is already his fifth season as a professional after spending two years at Israel (2017 and 2018), one at the Austrian Vorarlberg Santic (2019) and since 2020 at Delko, a team with which he ends his contract at the end of the season. Surely, you will not be short of offers. His dream is to race on the World Tour and participate in the Tour de France. “We are not all like Egan Bernal, who won the Tour when he was 21 years old, I go slower. From Turkey I have a great memory, a fantastic country. I will always have the memory of my first win in a general classification “, said in goal after he broke down in tears after certifying his triumph in the town of Kusadasi.
Much of the season he trains in his homeland, Jaén, before going to the races for which the team cites him. “I am not afraid to go out to teams outside of Spain, I feel comfortable. In the past I had offers from Spanish teams, but here (in the Delko) I have better conditions, a good schedule and I also signed for two years “Diaz told AS at the Tour of Arabia last year. His role, in the hypothetical case of making the leap to the World Tour in future seasons, could be that of “a good gregarious”, as he himself valued long ago, among other virtues.
He has two references: Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Nieve. The case of the latter stands out, since it is the profile of the runner that Díaz wishes to approach: a brilliant gregarious and with freedom to dispute stages at certain timess (Snow counts three victories in the Giro and one in the Vuelta). Time will tell, but this week in Turkey can mark a before and after for José Manuel Díaz.
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