Reuben Guerrero, the fearless cowboy who shot faster than the Contador, Froome and Pogasar

Reuben Guerrero, the fearless cowboy who shot faster than the Contador, Froome and Pogasar

Ascending Mont Ventox is the closest cycling in the world to the moon. Like the lush vegetation, for example, in the Alpe d’Hues, there are no trees in the ‘Bald Mountain’, but an open, very rugged, with nothing to shade. Absent views from shelters or hiding places.

Ventox grows in the territory of Provence, called “Giant” or “Colossus”. Seen from a distance, the towering tower stands majestic, 1,909 meters high, marking the landscape as a constant warning that there is an animal. Since there is no vegetation or any kind of protection, the main feature of that mountain is its wind, which he named Ventox – “wind”.

There are three possibilities to go to the surface of that moon, about 20 kilometers of all climbs. But, much higher or more than the sheer stiffness of the climb, it is in contact with the wind that kills those who dare to climb to the roof of Provence by bicycle. When there is nothing to protect them, the slopes, wind and green environment invite nightmares and pave the way for misery.

The Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge is a one-day race featuring the “Colossus of Provence” as the protagonist, without the fictional prestige of the Tour de France. The 2022 version was, with two climbs to the highest point of the mountain Officially defeated Reuben Guerrero of Portugal reached the finish line, 4 hours, 32 minutes and 35 seconds, 53 seconds ahead of his teammate Esteban Chavez at Education First.

According to his fearless style, the 27-year-old attacked from a distance but “did not expect to go alone”, he finally confessed. As the distance grew, Reuben remained “focused” and “at his own pace” in an “extremely difficult” race, and there he celebrated. Like his nickname “Pegões Cowboy”, when he crossed the finish line, he brought his hands close to his buttocks, as if drawing a fictional pistol that aimed at the horizon, proud of the exact shot he had just made.

Ruben Guerrero on Mont Ventox

Ruben Guerrero on Mont Ventox

Dario Bellingheri / Getty

Reuben Guerrero completed the ascent of Mont Ventox from Bedouin, the most difficult and classic descent, in 58 minutes and 35 seconds, averaging 22.2 kilometers per hour. In the chart that includes all-time climbing up to Ventox, the Portuguese are the 17th fastest ever, but in this classification Mountain Time Trials are included in the low runs and, therefore, more favorable for faster times.

With the exception of time tests, Guerrero was only slower than Miguel Angel Lopez in 1994 (Marco Pantani (57 minutes and 34 seconds)) and in 2021 (57 minutes and 55 seconds). 10 seconds shorter than Portuguese Alberto Contador (twice winner of the tour), 12 seconds shorter than Chris Froome (who won the tour). Big buckle Four occasions) and one minute and 17 less than Tadej Pogasar, who took the last two editions of the tour.

In a quick interview after the victory, the Portuguese emphasized that their team deserved more of the joy. Education First, the North American team, is one of those at risk of being dropped from the division and has been dropped from the main cycling cycle for the 2023 season. By winning the race with Reuben Guerrero and finishing second with Chavez, EF gained valuable points.

Reuben Guerrero, with the typical Ventox landmark in the shape of a trophy

Reuben Guerrero, with the typical Ventox landmark in the shape of a trophy

Dario Bellingheri / Getty

After a tough 2021 in which he broke his collarbone in the winter and had to release Giro due to a fall, Ruben Guerrero has made it “difficult” to get back to his best level, he admitted after the win. This season, one of the most important classics on the calendar, unfortunately came back to the climber’s door, after finishing 4th in the Queen’s stage of the UAE tour and 7th in Fly’s Wallon. Lease-bastogne-lease.

However, the excellent performance at Daupinhe, one of the most prestigious races of the week in cycling, and the priority of preparation for the tour led to Ventox’s victory. In the French Championship, which ended two days before the race Guerrero won, the Portuguese finished 9th overall in the final, with 4th and 5th place among the two most sought-after runs in the race dominated by Jumbo de Primoz Rogley.

Tour ambitions for early immigrants

In 2020, Ruben Guerrero introduced himself to the public at the Portuguese Pride Giro. In the same race where Joao Almeida had been dreaming of pink for two weeks, “Cowboy” Won the ninth round And made history by winning the Mountain Jersey.

After that victory in Rocaraso, Guerrero did not cross the first line, and after the celebration, he told “Lusa” that “the focus is on the tour”. After finishing 18th last year, he appears to be in excellent position in the main race on the Portuguese calendar, and he is not hiding his intentions in the French competition, where he will try to win a “stage one” in early July, 1st in Copenhagen, with a “very strong desire to win”.

Ruben Guerrero on Mont Ventox

Ruben Guerrero on Mont Ventox

Dario Bellingheri / Getty

Like Joao Almeida, Reuben Guerrero has never competed professionally in Portugal. In 2014, the Pegões cyclist won the Volta a Portugal du Futuro and was ranked 14th in the Volta a France du Futuro, with Tao Geogegan Hart (winner of the Giro in 2020) ranked 10th and Miguel Angel Lopez winning. Final General.

Following this performance, businessman Joao Correa led 20-year-old Ruben Guerrero to the Axion cycling team. In recent years, many Portuguese have played for prestigious U.S. Under-23 teams, such as Joao Almeida, Rui and Ivo Oliveira (Almeida’s teammates in the UAE) or Andre Carvalho (Cofidis, also in the first division). Currently Hagens Berman runs Axeon, where Diogo Barbosa, a 22-year-old son of Cândido Barbosa, runs.

After two seasons with the North American team, Guerrero entered the World Tour via Trek-Segafredo and entered his sixth season at the top of the game. Benficvista reconciled football with mountain biking until he was 14, when he began to dedicate himself more to mountain biking. After a couple of laps in the hot sun, we hit the road.

Until the tour, Reuben Guerrero, “Lusa,” will do a high-altitude internship. Increasingly consolidating as one of the best climbers in the peloton, it is to be hoped that his team – which is far from a leader that has candidates for victory in the tour – will give him the freedom to attack at the top of the road. , The Portuguese had already spoken of the possibility of discussing the mountain classification, as had happened in Giro two years earlier. Perhaps Gunslinger is already targeting Alpe d’Hues, who will reach the 12th stage of the Tour de France, following in the footsteps of Joachim Agostinho, who won there in 1979 and deserves a tribute on the 17th. Out of 21 curves.

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