Spanish cyclist Jesus Herrada is no mug. Having said that, neither is he the second coming.
He’s somewhere in between, as most of us are.
He found himself in a breakaway today that was given a particularly long leash by the peloton. So long, in fact, that he was metaphorically sniffing around in next door’s garden, rooting through their bins and happily fouling their crazy paving.
It was clear from as far out as fifty kilometres that we had our new race leader.
By the finish he had gently relieved Simon Yates of his red jersey to the tune of three minutes and some. By way of clarification, he thankfully refrained from also relieving him of his bib-shorts.
Certainly in the pre-watershed highlights that I watched, anyway.
In that horribly cynical, know-it-all way that modern humans have, the very moment he crossed the line to bag a surprise lead in this Vuelta Espana we said: “He won’t win the race though….”
As if that were even the point.
Of course he won’t win the race.
He is not in that elite category of superhuman specimens who have the physiology to win a Grand Tour. You have to be a physical freak, at worst. At best you’ll be some kind of messiah figure, able to tap into near miraculous powers.
And as we’ve established Jesus Herrada is not the messiah…*Embed from Getty Images
It’s a funny old sport, is pro cycling.
Simon Yates accidentally took the race lead back on stage nine. Today, on stage twelve, he very deliberately lost it again.
We understand why, of course: it frees him up to ride his own race, unencumbered by an absolute responsibility to defend the race lead, and allows him to ride in a calculating, counter-attacking kind of way.
He also gets out of media duties post-stage.
Herrada gets his moment in the Spanish sun. The Vuelta gets it’s Spanish hero for a few days. Cofidis, sponsors of both the race and Herrada’s team, get the required bang for their buck.
All we need now is for someone in the Cofidis hospitality tent to turn all that bottled mineral water into Galician wine and we’ve got ourselves a fairy-tale.
*He’s a very naughty boy. Obvs. Now piss off!
(Jesus Image: publicdomainpictures.net)