The best cycling team in the world could no longer race against the rest, so they raced among themselves, notes Bogdan Fink in his assessment of the unexpected outcome of La Vuelta 23. “Cooperation with Vingegaard can be difficult, but it is far from impossible.”
In the SOS-echoes podcast, after the end of the exciting 78th Race around Spain, we put together a virtual triangle where the two leaders Slavko Jerič and Tony Gruden invitations to the director of the Race around Slovenia. For MMC’s sports podcast, he analyzed the twists and turns of the last week of the (un)fight for the red shirt Bogdan Fink.
Sepp Kuss’ victory as the exception that proves the rule that sidekicks and nice guys don’t win three-week races? “They got into sweet worries. There was a complication because Kuss did not falter and did not fall behind at any stage. We must know that sports directors and coaches know very well how strong someone is, how many watts they spin. None of the three boys had a bad on” Fink emphasized the consistently good racing of the eventual winner, who would have finished ahead of all competitors from other teams in the overall total even without the escape and stage victory in the 6th stage.
Maybe Roglič was just not that kind of captain
Under the firm leadership of the trio bee the third week of La Vuelta 23 began with an attack from the Dane. “When Jonas attacked in the 16th stage, even the sports directors did not have everything under control. He could have won in a different way, with a later jump, if he had already imagined the victory for Nathan van Hooydonck. I could see from the move that although Primož was the captain, but maybe he wasn’t that kind of captain, because Jonas could do things a little in his own way, different from the cycling logic. Vingegaard acted as if he wanted to overtake Roglič in every possible way.” assessed the Novomeščan, who led, from his experience and knowledge Zasava eagle into the world of professional cycling.
The sacred rule of not attacking the leader from his own team
Many Slovenian cycling enthusiasts and Roglic fans were put in a bad mood by the command of the leaders, who, according to Angliru, ordered that both champion captains must support the red-shirted Kuss and bring the American safely to the final triumph in Madrid. Is the rule of not attacking the leader of your own team really such a sacred cycling rule or is it a myth?
“The shirt of the leader from the same team is not attacked. But at the same time, you can see the relentlessness of top sport and professionalism. Vingegaard and Roglič are leaders, but Kuss is not. As a result, the first two guys can afford more. There is no room for emotions, it’s about business. In to the public, things got out of their control, but they quickly managed to calm it down and successfully brought the matter to an end.” Fink touched on an unwritten rule that is embedded in the DNA of every road cyclist, but where minor deviations are still possible: “The no-attack rule: if you know that a rider is not going to be able to handle the climbs and all the climbs of the last week, then you race differently. But here Kuss was superior. With good performances, when he pulled out those eight seconds at Angliru from the heel veins, you earned the overall victory.”
Difficult cooperation, but far from impossible
After the stormy two mountain stages in the north of Spain and openly expressed skepticism about the leaders’ orders from Roglič and Vingegaard’s actions on the road, there was an almost unanimous opinion at first that the Slovenian and the Dane could no longer coexist in the same team in the same races. Can we still imagine that the two-time winner of the Tour de France would have as his co-captain the Slovenian champion, who is only missing the Tour?
“These are professionals. There is no room for emotion. I am sure they can still be in Jumbu Visma. Their cooperation is may be difficult, but far from impossible. If we put ourselves in the position of leaders, they will do everything to have two leaders in France. What if Jonas gets hurt, force majeure happens to him? At that point, they are left without a leader, even if Kuss remains. I doubt he could be the leader in the Tour despite winning the Vuelta. After all, even if Primož is the second captain, what happened to Kussu in Spain can happen. From the team’s point of view, they are doing the right thing,” the longtime leader of the Novi Sad team, Adria Mobil, emphasized the team aspect, where the yellow and black have proven over the years that they know how to coordinate different interests and leading roles for joint success.
Fink also gives a different perspective to all the disappointed Slovenian fans. “What if Vingegaard started complaining that he was the strongest and they didn’t let him win?”
“We live in science fiction”
If the 2023 season began with the possibility and hope that Slovenian cyclists would win all three three-week races, Jumbu Visma managed to write history and became the first team with such a grand slam. Nevertheless, the Slovenians managed an extraordinary feat: 1st place in Roglič at the Giro, 2nd place in Pogačar in the Tour and 3rd place in Roglič in the Vuelta. With the fact that the most popular and desirable monument in Flanders had already been won.
“Unbelievable. I’ve said it many times. All these successes of Slovenian cycling are science fiction and now we all live in this science fiction. Personally, I can’t be surprised at all and I’d like it to last as long as possible. And I don’t even think about what will happen , when this is over,” is the concluding thought of Bogdan Fink in the 121st show of MMC’s sports podcast SOS-echoes.
You are welcome to listen entire episodeswhere they talked about the following topics: − Why Fink in Slovenia is more happy about descents with good roads than interesting climbs; − It is not Remco Evenepoel’s fault that Roglič could not attack for the fourth victory in Spain; − the scattering of ashes and an explanation of why this kind of title of the summary of the 120th podcast;− Kuss from the heel veins and help from Landa on Angliru;− Jumbo Visma is currently the number one team in the world;− the strongest team exhausts all rivals;− what if bees left by an American;− after a historic season, the Dutch are only missing monuments;− the prestigious fight between Jumba Visma and the UAE Emirates for #1 in the UCI rankings;− the season is not over yet: we are looking forward to Lombardy and the confrontation between Pogačar and Roglič;− the Dutch share the roles of leaders and know how to find common languages (van Aert, Kooij);− yellow-black are in a class of their own in terms of technique, nutrition, training;− Vingegaard’s ultimate goal: to race in all three grand tours in the season;− when will Pogačar drive in the Race of Italy and when will it turn to Slovenia again; − why the director of the Race around Slovenia is visiting Zasavje; − an interesting fact about the number 121, where Fink involves the tarot and the phenomenon of the mond card (XXI).