miércoles, 14 de noviembre de 2012

Millar and Delgado. Part IV. Superbagneres 1989.

It had been an interesting Tour till the moment, with a good duel between Fignon and Lemond, while Delgado was trying to recover the disadvantage of the prologue and team time trial.

And the Pyrenees were coming, Millar was anonymous at the moment, bu with mountains stages in the Pyrenees coming, it semmed clear that he was going to appear........in his favourite scenary.

The first mountain stage in the Pyrenees finished in Cauterets and Spanish cyclists performed superbly. The new Sapnish hope, and former winner of Paris Niza,  Miguel Indurain, won the stage, with Anselmo Fuerte second and  Perico Delgado third, showing his rivals that he was not finished.

The victory of Delgado´s mate was a sign that Indurain could be his successor, that could survive in the mountains.......a future challenger........

Foto www.movistarteam.com

Furthermore he earned the polka dot jersey due to his solo breakaway.

And the following day we had the queen stage of the Pyrenees, Cauterets-Superbagneres ,136 kilometers with the climbs to Tourmalet, Aspin, Peyresourde and summit fiish at Superbagneres..................the perfect moment for a new duel between a Spanish and a Scottish.

Perfil iciclismo.it
Four big climbs:

Tourmalet.....Hors category

Aspin, 2nd category, from Saint Marie de Campan

Peyresourde,  1st category 

Superbagneres,  1st category

Cyclingcols profiles

The overall was still lead by Greg Lemond with 5" over Fignon, and more than 6 to Delgado, who was reacting and was now the 11th.

The stage started with several attacks. The first important move was the one of Pascal Richard, Millar and Mottet in the Tourmalet. A very good and dangerous breakaway. Charly Mottet was 4th in the overall a little more than 4 minutes to Lemond and Millar was a very good climber.......especially in the Pyrenees....................behind them, Reynold´s team was leading a group with only 20-25 riders and Indurain wearing the "polka dot jersey"

Foto Antonio Sevillano

We had a good duel in sight, and it was not the Lemond-Fignon one..............

Mottet forced the pace, he knew tha could be a great day for him, Millar was thinking in the stage and in the polka dot jersey............and Richard suffered, and finaly dropped..

In the bunch the alarm rang , Fignon was suffering at the buck of the group, encouragd by his mate Rue.

Millar was first in the summit of the Tourmalet, with Mottet some meters behind...............while Theunisse lead the group 30" ahead of the Scottish.

....... Greg Lemond was without ADR teammates in the mountains, but was showing no pain, the opposite of Fignon.......

Foto www.greglemondfan.com

..... ..the key moment of the day was being prepared. Suddenly Gorospe left the group on the descent and so did Delgado some kilometers later. They joined in the valley and Gorospe did a great job for his leader, to leave him alone in the Aspin. That was the moment Delgado had chosen to break the Tour..................that was the day of the redemption for the Spaniard.

Delgado caught Mottet, who was on fire knowing the posibility of the yellow jersey ( as he did in 1987 ) and his usual foe, Robert Millar.

It was the first time in the Tour they were fighting in the same breakaway, a direct fight.

The gap was increasing and not only Fignon was in trouble, the great Colombian climber Lucho Herrera was not going well at all.

The trio wwere colaborating in a good way, three goals, yellow for Mottet, stage for Millar and confidence, time and redemption for Delgado............
Foto omarperiko/loco de los pirineos

Millar was again first with 2'17" over the main group with PDM team leading and doing a good job for Lemond.

The Tour was changing, the difference was close to five minutes during the ascent of the Peyresourde, with Delgado taking the responsability of the trio..............Mottet was the provisional leader and Delgado was again a dangerous rival, even Millar was in the top 10 now........

Foto Antonio Sevillano
And thing were the same on the last climb, a courageous Delgado riding as hard as possible and the Dutch duo Rooks-Theunisse attacked from the leader group, with Lemond, Hampsten and Fignon there. The advantage had decreased to less than four minutes.

Mottet was suffering now, but he knew the proximity of the yellow, he shouldn´t surrender. Millar was waitning for his moment.....the victory in the stage. Later he would say that he was nearly dropped by Delgado in some occasions. In the main group a recovered Fignon was now leading with Lemond on his wheel.

Foto www.greglemondfan.com

With less than two kilometers left, aangry Delgado who threw a bottle to a spectator ( the typical disturbing one) and accelerated, and that time Mottet dropped...........so did Millar. Fortunately for the Scottish, Delgado decreased the rythm a little and he took his wheel.

The Spanish climber was not going to stop, it could be a magic day for him after the disappointinf first days in Luxembourg, and his resurrection on the pave, in the individual time trial and Cauterets. But the impossible happened, Millar resisted Delgado´s rythm and raised his arms beating Delgado by a bike, the man of the Pyrenees had come back...............on his favourites mountains.......five years later.

Delgado had tried but Millar was strongest in the last meters and revenged ( in some way) his famous and sad defeat in the Vuelta 85.

A great stage in the Pyrenees with our two characters. Delgado jumped to the 4th position in the general classification less than 3 minutes behind Fignon and Millar was now the 8th at less than seven minutes.

Mottet arrived at 19" , Rooks and Theunisse at 3'04" and behind them the fight Fignon - Lemond ended with the French rider in yellow.

Foto www.greglemondfan.com

He opened a 12 second gap over Lemond, leading the overall with a margin of 7". He was the yellow jersey five years later..................but that is a different story that will be told at its moment.

And the series of duels between Delgado and Millar are nearly finished, even though we´ll never forget them.

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