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A risky strategy

21/02/2022

Five memorable moments of the 2021 Milano-Torino: a risky strategy

This photograph was taken some 3 km before the finish, along the hardest part of the Superga ascent. This is probably the moment that settled the 2021 Milano-Torino.

Yates, Almeida, Pogačar and Roglič were the only ones left in the lead.

Yates hit the bottom of the climb first, and dropped the hammer. Roglič – who had stayed in his wheel until then – slowed down. It looked as though the Briton had launched the decisive attack.

He gained 20, 30, 50 metres in a snap, while the other three behind him appeared to be in some difficulty.
Or so it seemed from the footage. Actually, what was going on under everyone’s eyes – and Yates’s in the first place – was strategy at its finest, as we had not seen in years.

The reason why Roglič had slackened the pace was just to make sure that Pogačar, in turn, wasn’t pretending.
With such a short distance to go before the finish, and another rider at the front stepping up the pace, it was a risky strategy to pursue. A chance nobody would ever take, unless they had extraordinary physical strength and absolute certainty.

After making sure that Pogačar was actually struggling, Roglič left his young compatriot and Almeida behind, and jumped across to Yates in ten seconds.
The finish was not yet within reach, and anything could have happened in ordinary circumstances, but the feeling was that the 2021 Milano-Torino had been decided by then.

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