The first joy of 2023 has arrived early for Spanish cycling, in the third stage of the Tour Down Under, under the signature of a veteran, Pello Bilbao. The Australian race reopens the WorldTour, the highest category, after two years of cancellations due to the pandemic. Down Under is a product of that old UCI policy of universalizing cycling, which has only been partially achieved. While the peloton’s nationalities are increasingly global, the star calendar remains focused on mother Europe. This is the first major race of the year, although still far from the main dates, and raises the curtain on others with lower scores, but also with prestigious names, such as the Vuelta a San Juan, in Argentina, which starts tomorrow with Remco Evenepoel in their ranks. On that same date the Spanish route opens with the Valencia Classic, three days before the Mallorca Challenge. If we add to this that Benidorm will be the world capital of cyclocross this weekend, with Van Aert, Van der Poel and Pidcock in contention, cycling is already launched without brake.
And much better to start like this, with an early triumph. Bilbao beat Simon Yates, a rider accustomed to fighting at the head of the big rounds, and Jay Vine, one of the revelations of the last Tour of Spain, at the Campbelltown finish line, so we are facing a victory that shines at the dawn of the season. It is good that Veterans like Pello, 32, continue to offer high performance, in a course that is announced to be very important for Spanish cycling, because we are facing the year of confirmation of Juan Ayuso and Carlos Rodríguez. And also, why not, the consecration of Enric Mas, if he manages to expand his performance from La Vuelta 2022 to a broader calendar. This has only just begun. But better, winning.