Valero, against the wind06/12/2022
David Valero said in the interviews prior to the race that his debut in the NEOM Titan Desert Saudi Arabia was more ” more of a quality training than a race he was aiming to win. “Even so, I’m sure that one day I’ll go for the victory”, he admitted. It didn’t take him long to prove it.
The Spaniard was in the lead since the beginning of the first stage, starting from the NEOM Athlete’s Village. The group was made up of 10 or 15 riders, who fought against the strong wind blowing on the Red Sea coast that surrounds the NEOM region.
It wasn’t until the 60th kilometre, in an area of soft sand close to the second feed station, that Valero and Haimar Zubeldia opened up a gap on the rest of the riders. The improvised pairing between the two cyclists prospered until the finish line.
At the finish line, in the Titan Camp that will accompany the peloton for three nights, Zubeldia did not dispute the victory. “He has been pulling most of the time. He’s the fair winner,” he admitted.
The first 109 kilometres of the race were thus completed. At a slightly slower pace than expected, due to the opposition of the wind, leaving the two leaders very much alone. Almost 12 minutes ahead of Julen Zubero in third place at the GC.
Neither did Ariadna Ródenas want to wait a day to confirm the suspicions that she is coming to the NEOM Titan Desert Saudi Arabia to win the GC.
In the ŠKODA Titan Desert Almería she showed that she was the strongest rider, or at least the only one who could stand up to Vera Looser, who eventually won the race. In NEOM she confirmed her status as one of the main contenders.
She knew that she wanted to ride in a group throughout the stage to be able to overcome as much as possible the opposition of the wind that was blowing during the 109 kilometres of the stage.
This is how she did it and how she managed to overcome the rest of her pursuers. Almost 22 minutes of advantage that put the race very much in favour of the rider from Elche. Although, after today’s surprises, it is clear that nothing can be taken for granted in this NEOM Titan Desert Saudi Arabia.