France, Italy, Spain: the threat of a historic zero on the Tour de France | Sports

The Canadian Houle, winner of the 16th stage of the Tour.
The Canadian Houle, winner of the 16th stage of the Tour.YOAN VALAT (EFE)

On the Tour des 22, 17 stages have already been contested. They were won by: Lampaert, Jakobsen, Groenewegen, Van Aert (two), Clarke, Pogacar (3), Jungels, Cort, Vingaard, Pidcock, Pedersen, Mathews, Philipsen and Houle. By country: Belgium (5), Slovenia (3), Denmark (3), Netherlands (1), Australia (2), Luxembourg (1), United Kingdom (1) or Canada (1).

Not one for Spain, France and Italy. A Dane, Jonas Vingaard, wears the yellow jersey; a Slovenian, Tadej Pogacar, the best young man; the green jersey is the Belgian Wout van Aert, and a German, Simon Geschke, the king of the mountains. The first Frenchman in the general standings is David Gaudu, fifth, almost eight minutes behind Vingaard, Enric Mas, tenth, is more than 16 minutes away, there The Sicilian Damiano Caruso, 22nd, is more than an hour away.

The 2022 Tour, which is on track to be the fastest in history (42.059 kilometers per hour on average so far, 405 meters per hour faster than Lance Armstrong’s 2005, at the time, 41.654 ) can also be subject to a negative balance. If it ended like this, for the first time since its birth 119 years ago, the Tour would end without any victory for the three great Mediterranean countries. In 1926 and 1999 there were no French victories, but in the 26th there was a stage for an Italian, and in 1999 seven stages went to the country on the other side of the Alps and three to Spain. If Filippo Ganna doesn’t avoid it in Saturday’s time trial, or if Friday’s breakaway rewards Spanish or French workers, 2022 will be the harvest of nothing.

Then cycling started to change. In 1998, the Tour del Festina gave birth to what the French called two-speed cycling. While in their country, they explained, the problem of EPO and doping had been taken very seriously, and they had changed, they had prevailed, in other countries, notably in Spain and Italy, where the magicians continued to work miracles, after the downpour, they had closed the umbrella and continued as if nothing had happened. In Spain and Italy, where it is noted that for a Frenchman to have memories of one of his compatriots who won the Tour (Bernard Hinault, in 1985) he must have reached nearly 50 years of age, the explanation offered for drought, especially Starting in 2006, when Operation Puerto had the same purifying effects as Operation Festina, we talk about globalization.

In all countries there are cyclists. They are no longer children of hunger, of necessity, but now the characters are generally young people from wealthy families who seek in cycling the fascination of adventure, of agonizing effort, of the pleasure of its technology. And in countries previously outside the Tour, such as the United Kingdom, whose only contribution to its history was the death of Tom Simpson in Ventoux in 1967, their middle-class fans had grown so big that they had even formed the richest team. , the most powerful, the Sky which transformed the science of cycling and began to chain victories with Wiggins, Froome and Thomas. And like a splash of oil, the model has spread to all countries with little cycling history. Globalization and modernization have left aside the ancient cycle of the Mediterranean. And the countries that created ancient cycling, Belgium above all, are still in the lead because cycling is the most important sport there, its classics, its monuments, even more than football. And its champions, today’s most admired Van Aerts.

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