Make way for Velefique

Jakobsen wins at La Manga and already has two victories in this edition, the same as Philipsen. The day ran without a history, waiting for the big stage on Sunday.


Eighth stage of La Vuelta 2021 and fourth stage resolved to the sprint. Just half. The fans who demanded this type of arrival in their years of absence are sure to be happy with the repetitive volatas: two for Fabio Jakobsen, winner of the day, and two for Jasper Philipsen, third in La Manga. All at fifty percent. His detractors, who are not few, possibly also share that happiness, because this year they can take a nap later. And on a summer Saturday it is especially appreciated.

After two intense days of cycling, Groundhog Day returned to La Vuelta with a getaway for three cyclists, all of them Basques, from the three invited teams: Ander Okamika, from Burgos-BH; Aritz Bagües, from Caja Rural; and Mikel Iturria, winner of the Urdax stage in 2019, then in the ranks of the Euskadi-Murias and currently in the Euskaltel-Euskadi, who are not the same, although they sound similar. Jokes are beginning to circulate on social networks about these repetitive leaks, jokes such as that the organization has locked up three runners from these three squads to release them on the flat stages. In any case, it is logical that the invited teams are grateful and are morally obliged to animate these potential infumable days. By the way, they show their jerseys, which is not little. Cycling is also rolling advertising.

After 138 kilometers of riding, the adventurers were swallowed. The sprinters' teams controlled the clock, not allowing the fugitives to reach a four-minute lead. The squads of the roosters were also vigilant, in this case so that the coastal wind did not form escabechinas. Only a hint of fans appeared, some thirty kilometers away, when Astana squeezed in front of the peloton. There was no more battle. No surprises were wanted on the eve of Velefique's hard day. The race will hit another twist. This Sunday there is no siesta. And so, with the icing on a smooth sprint, he arrived at La Manga, 55 years after his first visit.

That cycling premiere in La Manga de Mar Menor took place in the second sector of the second stage in 1966, on a 81-kilometer route that left Murcia to crown Enzo Petrolani in the sprint. The only audience he found at the finish line was hundreds of workers who had received a few hours off. La Manga, which until then was an extension of dunes and vegetation, was at that time in the construction phase of an ambitious urban project. That edition was on the verge of not being held, but the dictator Franco opted to save the race to use it as a tourist projection shuttle, to open to the outside that gray Spain without freedoms.

La Manga has been one of the main vacation spots in the Mediterranean since that time, but today it suffers an environmental attack in its waters due to uncontrolled agricultural and livestock discharges. For the fifth consecutive day, avalanches of dead fish and crustaceans have appeared on its shores, which has forced the closure of eight beaches in the area. 55 years after its debut, La Vuelta has more than proven that it is still the best vehicle to show the country's bonanzas. May it also serve to bring to the fore the ecological disaster that is hitting the region. At the La Manga finish line this time there were no workers, but many people in swimsuits, as corresponds to the place and the station, and many others with protest banners that, despite the fact that there were Murcian workers who erased graffiti, were able to record their SOS Mar Menor.

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