Marc Soler does not know yet, the force with which pedaling defies the cold rain of a Switzerland without spring and the peloton that pursues him without leaving him a second of peace has nothing to do with the desire to pay homage to him, to make Jesus Hoyos might be proud of him for at least one day. Soler, who attacks on a hard slope 10 kilometers from the finish of Estavayer, wins the stage (and is placed leader of the Tour de Romandie general with a 14s advantage over Geraint Thomas) and orders the people who are not there to shut up, because the goal is deserted. Later they inform him that while he was pedaling, Hoyos, the lifelong doctor of his team, Movistar, his doctor, died in a hospital in Alicante until March 2020. “We didn’t say anything to him so as not to sadden him,” says his director, José Luis Arrieta, who has been inconsolable for 24 hours, since he was informed on Thursday that Hoyos, 62, in the terminal phase of pancreatic cancer, had been sedated. Soler is told as soon as he crosses the finish line and his face is deformed by the news and as soon as the winner’s press conference begins, he talks about his doctor, his pain, how he dedicates the victory to him.
And like all the members of the team, Soler felt like an orphan; and, like everyone who knew him and, necessarily, appreciated him, a little more alone. And everyone curses the nonsense that it is the people who make the world better who always die before their time. “A person above all upright who did not want to say anything to anyone about his cancer, who did not want anyone to worry about him,” sums up Arrieta, who, like all his friends, regrets not having spent more time with him, not having visited him, after at the beginning of last season, surprisingly, the team management dispensed with him, a doctor who had joined Banesto in the late 1990s, when the Sabino Padilla era ended, and had remained untouchable since the Chava times until Valverde’s 40 years.
And in between, he wrapped up dozens of cyclists, with whom he lived for more than 200 days a year, always on the road, put the thermometer on them, took their blood pressure, prepared training for them, downloaded into the computer, always on the verge of saturation, the data from all his heart rate monitors and power meters in Excel tables that only he knew how to handle, he analyzed them until the early hours of the morning, performed stress tests on them, took them to the hospital injured, and treated them as a loving father treats his children those who see them grow and do not stop, and so with Lastras, with Mancebo, with Nairo, who while Soler was winning in Switzerland he prevailed in the Vuelta a Asturias, a double tribute of his pipiolos, to Rubén Plaza, his favorite, to the Arrieta cyclist , to Piepoli …
“He brought our suitcases up and took our aspirin down,” says José Miguel Echávarri, the head of Banesto who hired Hoyos, who until then worked at Paco Giner’s Artiach, and Echávarri reflects how, during the races, Hoyos traveled to the city from the finish line in the mechanics’ truck, which transported the suitcases of all the members of his team, and as soon as he arrived at the hotel upon arrival he would take each one’s luggage up to the dormitories, and then he would go to the bus to wait for runners will arrive.
Nobody ever spoke ill of Hoyos despite the fact that for a couple of decades in Spain there was perhaps no job with a worse reputation than that of a sports doctor for a cycling team. The doubt, the suspicion of hidden and shameful practices could never hit one with a character that was too Castilian, dry, austere, silent, for his liking, a doctor of the first class of the Complutense School of Sports Medicine in Madrid, with practices in the Gregorio Marañón, and that before coming to cycling he practiced taking care of the workers who in the Iraqi desert built bunkers to defend the warlike madness of Saddam Hussein. Hoyos told his stories, the heat in the bunker furnaces, the hardships, without giving himself the slightest importance, as he did not give any importance to the pains, attacks and ills that haunted him from time to time, and only regretted not having studied Mathematics, He liked the subject the most, and he made his colleagues hallucinate by solving complicated multiplications that included decimal numbers without paper or pencil, and not having studied the degree more diligently. “I went to class every day and took all the notes, and at night I went out to have fun,” he said at his meals with friends. “All the classmates asked me for my notes, but I only read them on the eve of the exams and with that it was enough for me to pass …” And his friends from the School were excited because there, at the Complutense Faculty of Medicine, they He took his cyclists so that they could all do the stress tests, and play top-quality sports human material. And he collaborated with them so that they all published large studies in physiology journals.
He started cycling at the end of the 1980s. He started in the Caja Rural de Txomin Perurena, who was recommended to him by his first doctor at the time, Eufemiano Fuentes, from whom Hoyos learned exactly what he should not be or do. And all his life, so short, was dedicated to it.