Konrad goes big

The Austrian from Bora won the stage in Saint Gaudens from a break in which Aranburu was marching, sixth. Few movements between the roosters.

Konrad-goes-big

One, two and three. These are the numbers of Patrick Konrad, who this Tuesday won his first victory in a major, which is also the first on the WorldTour calendar; the second from the Bora after Nils Politt in Nîmes, both with their leader Peter Sagan already retired from the race; and at the same time he became the third Austrian cyclist to win stages in the history of the Tour, after the pioneer Max Bulla in 1931 and Georg Totschnig in 2005. Konrad finished the day's escape with a distant attack that brought him the triumph in the second of the four days of the Pyrenees, at the gates of the two decisive battles of this edition: Saint Lary Soulan and Luz Ardiden, today and tomorrow.

The Tour had resumed the road at full speed. Sharpened legs on the rest day and spurred on by a downward snatch. The peloton had started from Pas de la Casa, at 2,080 meters, the highest start in the history of the race. Land of skiers. All down. The first hour was covered at 48.5 km / h. Dizzy. In the second it accumulated an average of 45.4 km / h. Without truce. Ahead there was a mountain route with a first pass, two second and one fourth, spread over 169 kilometers. The terrain was suitable for a large escape, for the stagehunters. But it also presented possibilities in the fight for the general.

The capos know well the Achilles heel of the leader, the target where they can shoot their arrows: the team. If the rivals were capable of disarming the UAE Team, of isolating Tadej Pogacar, there were options to hurt him, to mature him before the two high finishes that are coming these days. Yesterday's route was even more conducive than the great mountain to seek that solitude of the yellow jersey, because in the colossi it has already shown that it can be used alone.

His opponents sought those weaknesses during the first frenzied 80 kilometers. They all threw soldiers ahead to serve for the subsequent battle. The Ineos proposed Kwiatkowski, Geoghegan Hart, Thomas ... The Jumbo, Van Aert. The Movistar, to Superman López. The Astana, to Friar. Even Keldermann himself tested it without intermediaries. The UAE contained the bombardment as best it could, until it began to disarm. It was a key moment. Pogacar knew it and decided to act in the first person, with direct responses to the outbursts of López and Van Aert. I did not want joys that could later turn into tears.

With the fire put out, the adventurers finally found the traffic light open to seek their own glory. And the getaway of the day was formed. Alex Aranburu, recently proclaimed leader of Spain for the World Cup, a fast man in sinuous profiles, saw a good opportunity in a finish that suited his characteristics, although so did Michael Matthews and Sonny Colbrelli, two other similar horses. The three of them looked like favorites, but to finish the job they had to tame the momentum of the climbers. Patrick Konrad, a 29-year-old Austrian not used to winning, but with good results in the majors, with two top-ten at the Giro, thought exactly the same, but in reverse. That his options were to attack from afar, to break his fellow escapees in ports, to search for the heroic solo ... And he was right. Aramburu came in the chasing group: sixth. Another position for Spanish cycling, which is always there, but at the moment it does not finish.

The fireworks. With more than 14 minutes late, little was expected of the peloton, but it was a wrong opinion. The Cofidis decided to play with Simon Geschke and Guillaume Martin, who pressed on the last tack of Aspret-Sarrat. Van Aert liked the mischief and continued the attack, to see if he hunted someone clueless. The group broke up, but all the roosters were attentive, they all entered the front. Ready for the next two battles. Today, Peyresourde, Val Louron and Portet. Tomorrow, Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden. The final fireworks.



Photos from as.com
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