Ruiz: "Valverde is the best Spanish cyclist in history"

The first national rider to climb the podium of the Tour and to win a stage in the Giro speaks with As about his sport, current affairs and evolution.


Just 94 years old. How are you, Mr. Ruiz?

I'm not like a kid, but I could not complain either. I like to go for a walk and have a coffee in the morning. I tried to take care of myself, I have a wonderful family and, from time to time, the races come to my Orihuela and the people of cycling and journalists like you remember me.

Do you watch out for the news of your sport?

Yes, for course I see the competitions in the afternoon, live, and sometimes the replays offered by the teles at night. The next day I read newspapers.

You became in 1952 the first national runner to climb the podium of the Tour, third, and in 1955 he won the first stage for Spain in the Giro. It has victories in the big three, and in 1948 it conquered the general of the Vuelta. Proud?

Received like that, so as not to feel! In my time I was the best in the country, but when I was out there it was impossible to face foreigners. The tests were not disputed by teams, they were almost individual, and Italian, Dutch and Belgians organized very well. I did not have much support, although if I gave the word to the gregarious about giving out prizes, I would comply.

What triumph excited him the most?

Uy, with the things I did. Not even know where to start. I have titles in Levante, Asturias, Burgos, Catalunya, the Classic of Ports, Championships of Spain ...

Alguno there will be.

Yes, the Volta a Catalunya of 1945, the edition of the silver wedding. I did not impose in any of the 16 days, but I wrote down the general classification for consistency and consistency. I also remember with fondness the 1946 Nationals. They did not even give me the trophy because nobody trusted that I would beat Francisco Antonio Andrés Sancho. And yes, I got it. Go that yes.

¿It existed much pique with Federico Martín Bahamontes?

Normal. If I won, he did not charge. If he won, I did not charge. We played the rooms. And I must say that, although Bahamontes took the first Tour for Spain, it enjoys a greater predicament in France than here. I joined Julio Jiménez for the Faema (in 1962), when I worked in the position of sports director after my retirement, and I always told him that I thought I was a much better climber. And also signed Angelino Soler, the youngest winner in the history of the Vuelta (with 21 years, in 1961) .

Your cycling has nothing to do with today's.

Nada. Everything is much more controlled: the bullshit shit, the technology, the opinion of directors that hinder the runners ... Obviously there have been advances, many absolutely necessary, as in the material. We threw the tubulars on the shoulder in case we clicked. However, I am not convinced by so much control or the scarce initiative of most of the stars.

Who is your favorite?

Alejandro Valverde, no doubt. Not only do I consider him the best Spanish cyclist in history, but also the world number one. Miguel Indurain, winner of five Tours, never had his talent. Valverde has the quality and ability to win great rounds, great classics and World Cups, and he has shown it up to 38 years ... and continues. I stay with him, I love it.



Photos from as.com

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