Two black movie rooks squawk in the beautiful, dark valley of Cortina d’Ampezzo perched on the cables of a chairlift. The low clouds continue to hide the pale mountains, which are supposed to surround the city. The Giro leaves the places towards the valley of Fassa by the great highway of the Dolomites, Falzarego, Pordoi, under water storms and some snow. In the afternoon the sun shines. Second Tuesday off. The ominous squawks, the nevermore how hoarse ravens screech, surely they haunted Egan Bernal’s dreams for a time, but never again. Egan in pink, live the Giro in a trance, and forget. Perhaps Remco Evenepoel’s maddened head is thundering these days, in the conflict of emotions and memory, already at 21 years old, in which he has become the first great of the new Merckx. But surely neither touch nor frighten the eardrums of Damiano Caruso, the second overall, the gregarious Sicilian in a state of grace who gives the pink race its necessary costumbrista touch, or neorealist, as the Italians say.
Three stories that define a Giro with five days left, three in the high mountains – Wednesday, Sega di Ala; Friday, Alpe di Mera, on Lake Maggiore, but without the planned passage through Mottarone, the first-class port where the cable car tragedy occurred on Sunday, and canceled for that reason, and Saturday, ending in Alpe Motta and he passed the Swiss giants San Bernardino and Splügenpass–, a sprint – Thursday – and the final time trial from Milan to the Duomo, which looks pink like the jersey that gave Egan hope. “I’m back,” says the Colombian to journalist Juan Charro on an Instagram Live at midnight on Monday, the day he won the Dolomites stage with pink in Cortina. “After winning the Tour, I had a very bad year, with both physical and psychological problems. I had to withdraw from the Tour with tremendous back pain that did not just leave me and after having spent a stage in the group, which was a very hard experience ”.
The Tour that Egan could not finish was that of the Slovenian fight, that of Primoz Roglic’s dominance, that of the triumph of Tadej Pogacar, so young, 21 years old, that he robbed the Colombian of the honor of being the youngest winner of the Tour since over 100 years ago. “This winter I started to doubt myself. Could it be that I am not going to progress any more? Could it be that I have already reached my one hundred percent? “, Says the wonder child of Zipaquirá, who has just turned 24 and who, after proclaiming his great return, confesses to feeling” in a trance “, another way of calling a state of grace which has allowed him to annihilate, one by one, almost in single combat, all the rivals who have stood before him, beating the drum of rebellion, Remco, Vlasov, Yates, Carthy. He only needs, to feel total, fight and defeat the Slovenians, who amaze. “But it won’t be this Tour,” Egan warns. “I’m going to end up very tired from the Giro and to prepare for the Tour I would need to push a lot and put my back in danger again. You can only go one hundred percent to the Tour. Nor do I think I do Games. The second part of the season will surely focus on the Vuelta ”.
And there, in Spain, he would find Pogacar, but not Remco Evenepoel, whose performance, the hardships he has suffered on the dirt roads of Montalcino, in the Giau and its summit at 2,233 meters turned into a corridor with ice walls , is the subject of a wide variety of analyzes that coincide on one day, on August 15, 2020, and on a fall from a bridge in Lombardy. From the physical wounds he recovered, everyone says. To heal the mental ones, the post-traumatic shock, the fear of descents, of marching in the peloton, of loneliness on the dirt roads, he only needs time, they think about his team and he thinks, who is looking for how to return to the trance in the that everything flows and the body abandons itself. Patrick Lefévère, the patron of his Deceuninck, admits that perhaps it was excessive to make the Giro his foal’s first competition in eight months, and also that it was perhaps a mistake not to fight for the pink jersey in the early days, when he had it. seconds away, thinking of not putting the responsibility on the team so soon. “And with Remco in pink there would already be a good memory of the Giro,” says Lefévère, who adds that another problem is that his rider is not used to losing because he has never lost. “His ego has been very touched.”
While those in charge of the team think if it would not be good to withdraw him from the race and save him penalties in the mountains that remain, the cyclist does not think about anything other than arriving in Milan and there winning the final time trial, the victory of hope.
For Caruso, keeping second place or finishing on the podium would be the victory of life. He is gregarious by trade and the son of a policeman – his father was part of the bodyguard of Judge Falcone, murdered by the mafia in Palermo -, lover of Andrea Camilleri and his commissioner Salvo Montalbano, and the cyclist from Punta Secca, Ragusa, nicknamed The Eagle of the Ibleos (the mountains of his land), sometimes appears with a “Caruso sono… ”, As his hero. He worked for another Sicilian, Vincenzo Nibali, and for Mikel Landa, who left the Giro broken. He has never heard a rook sing a nevermore because he has never had excessive ambition. And, miracle of the Giro, the pink magic, not the jersey, at the age of 33, at last, he owns his story. “All I do,” he says, “is run for myself.”