Guillaume Martin, the cyclist who rides the Vuelta accompanied by Fernando Pessoa

BarcelonaThe Cycling Tour of Spain enters its final week with all eyes on the neck of the reigning champion, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic. Despite going third overall, everyone takes it for granted that he is the big favorite. Their rivals know they need to attack the Asturian peaks in order to reach the last day’s individual time trial with options. “We should take Roglic a minute away from the general before the time trial,” admits Colombian Miguel Ángel López. “It motivates me to be able to aspire to the title, but we will have to beat Roglic in the mountains”, says the Mallorcan Enric Mas. For now, the leader is the amazing Norwegian Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché), who admits he doesn’t imagine winning the test. Roglic is third at 1.36 minutes, and Mas fourth, at 2.11.

And in between dreams Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), second to 54 seconds behind the leader. Martin aspires to be the first Frenchman to win a big lap since Laurent Jalabert in the 1995 Vuelta. “I still don’t know what roof I have. It motivates me to aspire to be the leader of the Vuelta, but I have to discover my limits “, he says. Martin is not a cyclist like the others. His mother was a teacher of interpretation and his father a teacher of aikido, a martial art that Martin, a graduate in philosophy, practices to relax. In fact, he wrote the book Socrates on a bicycle and a play about Plato where he combines his passion for philosophy with the experiences lived on the road. In the Vuelta his traveling companion is the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa, as he is currently reading The book of unrest. A double journey, physical and inner, as he seeks to know more about himself. “Philosophy must confront your certainties. In cycling, you have to put yourself to the test ”, explains a cyclist who, without making much noise, aspires to his first big podium. If in the Tour he became second for a few days in which he cheered the French parish, before falling to eighth place, in the Vuelta he started slowly because of a fall, but overtook Roglic in the general the day the favorites got lost and allowed a getaway to go too far and make Eiking the leader. Martin had that great opportunity that day to see what pasta he is made of.

This Tuesday’s stage, the sixteenth of the Vuelta, will be one of the last opportunities for sprinters, with a 180-kilometer route between Laredo and Santa Cruz de Bezana. On Wednesday it will be time to go up to the lakes of Covadonga and on Thursday the queen stage, with the ascent to the top of the Gamoniteiru, where the race can be seen for sentencing.


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