The fireworks are lit

The Lakes of Covadonga open the decisive countdown to La Vuelta. Jakobsen won the sprint the day before. There are five stages left to finish this edition.

Whenever these types of days are held, the temptation is to start the chronicle with a summary lead similar to the following: Fabio Jakobsen won the sprint on Tuesday in the 16th stage of La Vuelta a España, between Laredo and Santa Cruz de Bezana , over 180 kilometers, on a transition day in which the Dutchman from Deceuninck added his third victory in this edition, fifth in his two participations, which served him to celebrate his 25th birthday, on the eve of the climb to the mythical Lakes of Covadonga.

All the information that is collected there is true, except for the expression of "a day of transition", as hackneyed as it is unreal. In cycling, there are never transitions. There may be days calmer than others, or more boring from the perspective of competition and showmanship, but a professional runner who plays a great round can risk his future both in a partial this style, flat and without apparent dangers, as in the two etapones that will be chained Wednesday and Thursday in Asturias, with goals in the legendary Lakes and the imposing Gamoniterio.

Giulio Ciccone, who was facing his first major as Trek leader and occupying 12th place in the standings, with aspirations to advance positions and even to get into the top-5, can attest that the Cantabrian route had nothing to do with transition, because he was forced to abandon the race due to the consequences of a montonera at kilometer 5 that also affected other roosters, in these cases without such dire consequences, at least for now. Guillaume Martin, second overall, 54 seconds behind Odd Christian Eiking's red jersey, and Enric Mas, fourth and first Spaniard at 2:11 behind the lead, were equally immersed in the accident, although in both, everything indicates that the result has been “sheet metal and paint”, as they say in cyclist slang.

No date is good to suffer a fall, that is obvious, but even less when the final fireworks of La Vuelta is approaching, with five days ahead, of which four aspire to be decisive. Four days that do not allow dissimulation or masks due to the harshness of its routes, seasoned by the threat of storms. If Guillaume Martin or Enric Mas have not recovered well from their falls, the Asturian mountains will have no mercy with them.

The fireworks are lit with a diptych in the Principality. This Wednesday we will reach a classic, Los Lagos, after passing through La Collada Llomena, a 7.6 kilometer port with an average gradient of 9.3%, which will be climbed twice. And on Thursday, the great novelty of this contest, the ascent that has raised the most expectation: the Gamoniteiro, an unprecedented colossus of 14.6 km at 9.8%, which will be reached with the legs punished by San Llaurienzu, the Cobertoria and the Cordal, mountains that on previous occasions have been as decisive or more in their descents than in their ascents.

Roglic's letter. If this attractive and demanding scenario did not solve the classification, they would still subtract the trap that Óscar Pereiro has prepared in his town of Mos, on Saturday, and the final time trial in Santiago de Compostela, on Sunday, which in principle favors the interests of the two-time champion Primoz Roglic. If someone wants to win La Vuelta 2021, they will have to reach the clock with a couple of minutes ahead of the Slovenian. Between these two days and the two in Asturias there is a final in Monforte de Lemos, on Friday, which in theory will not decide anything, but in practice, you know: there is no transition.

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