Politt leaves Erviti on the shore

Merckx's record can wait. There was no sprint at Nîmes, which he saw triumph on the run. The Bora German won after the withdrawal of their leader Sagan. And the Spanish was second.


Eddy Merckx's record can wait. After adding his 33rd victory last Tuesday in Valence and placing one of the Cannibal, Mark Cavendish took out a marker and marked four days in the road book, the only ones conducive to reaching the sprint. The first was this Thursday in Nîmes, a city accustomed to mass arrivals, which had decided the winner in the last three visits: Caleb Ewan, in 2019; Alexander Kristoff, in 2014; and Cavendish himself, in 2008. That year, the Englishman began his productive harvest on the Tour. Nîmes hosted its fourth triumph in that edition, also the fourth in its endless collection. The site was ideal to challenge Merckx. But there was no sprint ... no record.

The second half of the Tour is more suitable for getaways. The bodies are tired, the list of casualties is long, the teams of sprinters have diminished ... And much more if the day before Mont Ventoux has been climbed twice. Cavendish finished that stage at 40:40 minutes, surrounded by Deceuninck squires, waiting for better scenarios, which were not Nîmes. At the same departure from Saint Paul Trois Chateaux, the retirement of Peter Sagan had been announced, with a knee problem. There was more desire to have a quiet day than to control the race. And the flight took advantage of the downcast spirit to gain weight.

The victorious escape was made up of 13 runners, including Julian Alaphilippe, repeater of the previous day, whom his partner, Marion Rousse, the mother of his recent son, was waiting for at the finish line, the one to whom he dedicated the victory in the start of Brittany with a figured pacifier. He wanted to pay him another tribute, but the beating was already double. The group also welcomed fast men who no longer resist the pulse with Cavendish, such as Greipel, Swift, Mezgec, Henao and Boasson Hagen. Regular adventurers like Theuns and Van Moer. And riders like Küng, Politt and Imanol Erviti, who vigorously defended Spanish cycling. Omar Fraile had also entered, but the team stopped him to protect Alexei Lutsenko, who still aspires to the podium, from the threatening wind.

The escape was broken at 50 kilometers with an attack by Nils Politt, a 27-year-old German used to winning little, in fact he only had one victory in the Tour of Germany until this Thursday, but he did make positions and fight for positions of honor in the chronos. A good wheeler. Powerful. Their leader Sagan had retired and tactics had to be changed to pursue success. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider selected a quartet with Stefan Küng, another more prestigious time trialist; Harry Sweeny, the most climber of all; and Imanol Erviti himself, a veteran winner of two stages of the Vuelta a España, but a long time ago, back in 2008 and 2010. The four were going to play the victory.

With 15 kilometers to go, Sweeny took advantage of a steep slope to play his tricks. His snatch blew up Küng. One less. And he almost does it with Erviti, but he managed to link to his rhythm. The triumph was a matter of three. Politt exhibited the best legs, had already seen himself on the run, and enforced the forecast. Shortly after, at 12 km, the German launched a lethal attack. The Navarrese from Movistar made a pretense of leaving, but chose to stick out his elbow, that universal gesture that asks his partner to take over. The Australian had also used up his strength, nor did he go after the German. Politt was already the winner, he just had to finish. Erviti entered second position, honey on her lips. The last time a getaway had succeeded in Nîmes, in 2004, Aitor González had won. Nor was the Spanish precedent fulfilled. Nor Cavendish.

Photos from as.com
Powered by Blogger.