Miguel Indurain: “Young talents are put under a lot of pressure”

Autograph goes, photo comes. Endless requests. A legendary figure, timeless, who walks among mortals. He attends to everyone with his best smile, kindness and simplicity, as well as continuing to enjoy cycling as his great passion. Miguel Indurain (Villava, 58 years old), ambassador of Sports Santander, was acclaimed last Saturday in O Barco, a Galician town where shared with the Press displaced to O Gran Camiño a beautiful morning of cycling organized by the entity, despite the cold and rain. A privilege of which AS was a part and in which the giant from Navarre discussed the exciting new generation of spanish talents led by Juan Ayuso and Carlos Rodríguez.

-A cycling experience like this, is it more enjoyable than when you were competing?

-No, I liked the competition, my sport. But if you like competition, competing is enjoyable. This is also riding a bike, with a group that I usually participate in… It’s a nice event, but when you’re in the competition, even if you have difficult times, if you like it, you enjoy it.

-You are still very active on the bike with ‘La Indurain’, the Titan Desert… How much time do you still spend on it?

-Well, this year in winter little more, because I have to prepare for the Titan and they have forced me to advance training, and on top of that it’s bad. But I usually go out when I have time and in summer. I like the bike and I continue to enjoy it at my own pace, I don’t compete and I go out to enjoy with people, with groups, other times alone… but I still ride my bike. It is the sport that I do, I do not do any other.

-Now we once again have a great generation of Spanish talents. Do they excite you?

-I see them well, what happens is that they are putting a lot of pressure on them, immediately as soon as they stand out a bit, we already think about the next Valverde. They are big words. They are kids who are very good, we have had a few years that there has not been someone like him (by Valverde). People who were doing well, yes, like Landa, others who were joining, but suddenly there has been a ‘boom’ of kids and they are the future, but of course, putting that pressure on them… Each one will manage it differently. There are people who take the pressure well, others who can’t stand it, so we’ll see how they handle it in these years.

-Is it difficult to predict if they are capable of winning great tours?

-Yes, comparing them with someone like Valverde is complicated. They aim very well, they come in handy, they defend themselves well in all fields, they are people with character, with personality within the race, it is already difficult to find people who know how to do this type of competition, but we will have to see how far they go.

Miguel Indurain, during the Santander Sports cycling tour in O Gran Camiño.


Miguel Indurain, during the Santander Sports cycling tour in O Gran Camiño.Santander Sports

-With the departure of Carapaz from Ineos and Bernal’s physical problems, is it time for Carlos Rodríguez to lead the next Tour?

-Yes, by proxy, you can give him the leadership, there is no problem, the problem comes later. On the Tour you have to respond and they are big words. It’s easy: ‘you leader, and run’. So, I think it’s better that I go to the Tour and see it, see what it is, how it runs. Each race is different, and three weeks on the Tour you have to know how to digest them. If he is already in the Ineos team for the Tour, if he is there it is already a responsibility, and then if he manages to do well, well, even more.

-Who will be 100% like leader in La Vuelta is Juan Ayuso. What options does it give you?

-He has shown that he has personality, that he knows how to take control of the pressure of the team. Until now he has always been a little protected by another, now we will see how he responds, but he has quality, he knows how to defend himself well in the mountains, against the clock, in everything. He is young and he can learn a lot, there will be years when he does better, others worse, but I think he will know how to move forward.

-Would you be excited if one of these riders became another great champion like you in the ranks of Movistar?

-Everyone is looking for their team. In my time, luckily, we had many teams at a national level, many sponsors who took us out: Banesto, Once, Clas… a lot of teams, and now cycling has changed and is more international, and there are riders who are in Movistar, which is the only Spanish team we have on the World Tour, but the rest have to find a place in Ineos or other good teams. This has become very global, before it was difficult for a Spanish runner to go out for a run, Perico did, but it was something strange, then he came back, it was very difficult. Mariano Lejarreta was in Italy, but we didn’t usually go out, and now it’s normal to find Spaniards in all the teams. If they are in Movistar, fine, but if they are in others, they are also well organized.

-Raúl García Pierna, another of our young talents, was proclaimed champion of Spain against the clock last year. As a great specialist, how do you see yourself in the future, can you stand out?

-Yes, if he has been champion of the discipline it is because he has an engine, he can take advantage of it or not, but he does. We will have to see how the races go, how the mentality goes, how the injuries go, how everything goes. They are one of the runners who have exploded young, I already exploded when I was 26-27 years old, and these are the ones who have exploded young, but I think there will be some who are still hidden there, who still have more experience than these, who may still have Physically, he is immature and at 24, 26, 27 years old, well, we still have a surprise out there that is still a bit crouching. But these yes, the truth is that they have started strong, in all sports today, each time before. In soccer, in basketball, in cycling, in athletics, in everything. And there are some that are good for them and there are others that are still there cooking a little.

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