The strong cycling calendar kicks off today with Paris-Nice, the first major high-calibre competition on the World Tour calendar and in which three greats from the peloton face each other: Tadej Pogacar, Jonas Vingegaard and Daniel Martinez.
The Ineos runner will be the only Colombian in the test. Cycling in the country has won the title three times: Carlos Betancur (2014), Sergio Henao (2017) and Egan Bernal (2019) and, in addition, seven of its cyclists have finished on the podium. Martínez comes with wings, by winning in Portugal in the last stage, precisely, in a time trial.
TIME spoke to him.
(Towards Formula 1: Sebastián Montoya in Formula 3: ‘With my last name the responsibility is greater’).
What is the actual goal in the test?
The goal is to win. That is why we have a very strong team, because the task we have is not easy.
Beat Pogacar and Vingegaard…?
Yes, of course, there is Pogacar and Vingegaard, who have made good company so far this year. They are rivals to beat: the idea and goal is to defeat them.
That you three have already won this year, what does that tell you?
At the beginning of the season the races have been demanding. The three of us have already won in Europe this year and that gives us a point of confidence. You have to know how to manage a strategy, because in the batch they will have us referenced.
Can it be said that it is a test for the Tour de France?
Having them there, looking at them to see what they are up to, is key to measure yourself. The Tour de France is still far away, it takes a long time (next July), but it’s good that you measure yourself now against some of the strongest and identify what you may need to improve from here on out.
And the tour?
He is good and demanding. The wind is a key factor. That tells us that you have to be well positioned, always ahead. You have to have good support, colleagues who help us to be in the fans.
And in the mountains?
There are three high mountain stages, we will have good climbs to do damage, but we cannot measure ourselves without talking about the team time trial, which is long (32 km). Teamwork will be important.
Where is the key?
Victory is played every day. The route tells us that you have to be very aware of cuts, fans, falls. It will be ideal to always be ahead to avoid surprises like the ones we have experienced.
In what way does this victory push the Algarve?
Winning the race in that time trial made me happy, but the important thing is that it gives us confidence for País-Nice.
LISANDRO ABEL REGINFO
SPORTS JOURNALIST EL TIEMPO