Much smoke in the Picón Blanco




The public returns to cycling, the Picón Blanco rumbles in the Cantabrian Mountains, moves the mountain because it is the essence of this sport. Floods of balloonists, walkers, cycling clubs, groups of friends, families and a variety of unclassified people go up to the port that connects Burgos with Cantabria. It generates a contagious and playful atmosphere in the asphalt tongue that is born in Espinosa de los Monteros. Nature tourism linked to cycling, to the gorges of the Ebro, to knife-cut rocks, a fantastic spot from the top … The setting is above the sporting result. Much smoke in the Picón Blanco. Nobody tests Primoz Roglic, who has won two Laps and has a closing time trial. They threaten Bahrain and Mikel Landa so timidly that it remains a whisper. Ineos cannot, with its pile of millions for salaries and marginal profits: Richard Carapaz remains, exhausted from the Games and the Tour and gives up a minute, Adam Yates does not break, Bernal is saved. And Movistar does not try, which arrives with three leaders at the finish line arm in arm. Enric Mas, who throws himself 300 meters and wins a few seconds, Supermán López and Alejandro Valverde. In the inaction, the escaped Rein Taaramae, 34 years old, comes from so far, Estonia, new leader of the Vuelta, wins.

The parish crowds on the Picón Blanco gutter as if it were the Alpe d’Huez in a July of the Tour. Everything has some meaning in cycling and in any sport when the public, the people, side with emotion, with some kind of emotional shock of an intense nature. The corridor to the summit is a symphony of exaltation of the spirit by something that causes interest, admiration or pleasure. That evokes cycling among its people. So far he has linked the Vuelta with the inhabitants of his country.

The return of the followers has no nationality or color. On the slopes everyone is encouraged, whatever the surname, the traits or the patent advertised on the jersey. On the side of the Burgos mountain, the crossroads with La Sía, Estaca de Trueba or the Pasiegos valleys, a multitude is camped that is alien to the result, who do not know the name of most of the passengers in the platoon, but who come by the epic, the epic or the heroic poetry that distills cycling and cyclists.

Many Basque fans who have traveled to the nearby town await Mikel Landa, the agitator of that peculiar movement called ‘landismo’. The man from Vitoria, who arrived late to the Burgos time trial and who is a kind of Curro Romero who cares about sensations and not so much about ears, wants to say something. Put Bahrain to work. But it does so without much substance. Padun, Caruso and Poels do not take down almost anyone, a platoon of 30 riders. “I was not very confident before the Vuelta, but I am with the best,” says Landa, who chooses in this Vuelta the path of regularity and caution.

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