Juan Ayuso, the unique itinerary of a gifted person

Juan Ayuso, winning the Giro del Belvedere.

He started cycling at age seven, in 2009, Contador’s great year, and seeing Contador win his second Tour against Armstrong, he fell in love with cycling. “He has made me passionate,” says Juan Ayuso. “Because of him, the race of my dreams is the Tour.” Juan Ayuso was born in Barcelona to a Valladolid father, has lived in Atlanta (United States) and in Xàbia (Alicante), lives between Andorra and Bergamo (Italy), runs the Italian calendar with Colpack, the toughest in Europe in sub 23, where he has already five victories, and his coach controls him from Colorado (USA). He is 18 years old, from the age of 14 he has lived cycling like a professional, without stopping studying high school and winning races from ever older riders. At 16 and 17, in 2019 and 2020, he won the Spanish junior long-distance championship, which in 2020 he doubled with the time trial title. In summer he will already run in the WorldTour, the cycling Championships. He will probably debut the UAE jersey, the team of Tadej Pogacar and Marc Hirschi, on July 31 at the Clásica de San Sebastián, where Lance Armstrong made his debut 29 years ago, where Remco Evenepoel, the Belgian prodigy, the benchmark for all young people, He already left his mark a couple of years ago, at 19.

His cycling development has been purely individual, oblivious to teams and traditions, the cycling of a lifetime that requires everyone to go through all stages and warns against excessive rush, and his people looked askance, skeptical and almost wishing he would crash. , while he, how his father, Javier, an economist with a love for numbers and spreadsheets, soaked up all the modern training theories exposed in books, got excited applying the latest technologies to his son’s preparation, and The two were learning everything, physiology, biomechanics, programming, data analysis, watts, nutrition, as they grew. And as it grew and progressed, the old school of Spanish cycling, realized that its accelerated journey was not crazy, rather a way of being with the times. He represents more than the other great talents of his generation – Carlos Rodríguez, Raúl García or Igor Arrieta – the Spanish version of cycling zoomer, which devastates the world. “Those born in 2001 and 2002 are a very good generation,” he says. “In three or four years we will all be at the top”

Ayuso’s has been a unique itinerary for a gifted person who, cyclistically, and contrary to the style of Contador, climbs sitting on the saddle, and attacks from afar, counter-clock and sprints, and his broad shoulders make him similar to Mathieu van der Poel, the ideologue from cyclocross, an individual career, the style that everyone wants to imitate, from 21st century cycling. And, strangely for a Spaniard, he only thinks about winning. “But I for stage races not for Flanders classics like Van der Poel”, clarifies Ayuso, who is 1.83m tall and weighs 65 kilos. “I don’t see myself winning a Roubaix.”

Despite the speed with which he has grown, Juan Ayuso maintains that he has never burned out training stages, that, on the contrary, he trains less than most, four hours at maximum. “Everything has been very controlled, and now, since last September, that the UAE trainers have brought me, much more. Every day I send them my data from the Trainingpeaks app, heart rate, watts, thresholds, series, speed … Everything is recorded, sleep, watts, nutrition … Everything is analyzed and used to continue adjusting the workouts ”.

“And the training sessions are fair, even less than he would like, and he keeps telling me when he will have five-hour outings”, says Íñigo San Millán, his coach and that of the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, another prodigy of precocity, winner of the Tour at 21 and of the Liege at 22. “As with Tadej we prefer quality to quantity.” And as he saw them in Pogacar, in Ayuso San Millán has also seen unique qualities, a Laguardia from Laguardia who works as a professor at the University of Colorado in Denver. “It stands out for its metabolic efficiency and its ability to clear lactate in muscle mitochondria”, explains the trainer. And that translates into its high FTP [umbras funcional de potencia], which is measured by his maximum capacity for 20 minutes, but not 20 minutes at the beginning of the effort, where there are many cyclists with high values, but after three or four hours, and there are very few who are like him ”.

“It is not just me who has this new vision, scientific, technological, of cycling. The fashion was started by Remco Evenepoel three years ago, who jumped as a youth to the WorldTour ”, says Ayuso, by phone from Bergamo, the day after impressing in Italy with consecutive victories in two of the most important sub-23 races on the international calendar. the Piva Trophy and the Giro del Belvedere, and two weeks before prevailing in the general of the Giro de Romagna by Dante Alighieri, where he also won two of the four stages, the mountain jersey and the best youngster. And before arriving at the WorldTour, his goal is to win the sub 23 Giro in June. “I don’t want to criticize what happens in Spain with the sub 23 races, but in Italy they have a better international calendar and we can race with professionals. [así, disputó, y con buena nota, la Semana Coppi y Bartali], and runs at a different pace, much stronger. It is something else. The races are different and the roads, too. They are narrower and in them the fight for position is obligatory, the tension. You race against the best in the world and you always have to be 100% ”.

“Juan wants to know everything in detail. He has a great appetite to know and understand the physiological, performance and training keys “, says San Millán, who defines him as” intelligent, applied, disciplined and methodical to the point of boredom “, but, perhaps because he considers it unnecessary, in sight He is there, he does not highlight another of the qualities that brings him closer to the great stars of the past as well as to the very young generation to which he belongs; your instinct to killer, his attacking character, the absence of fear of losing.

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