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Walter: “Why don’t I keep my pink shirt?”

Jiro leaders are confident before the ninth stage

Written by Peter Maurer


Attila Walther (Groupama – FDJ) strahlt im Maglia Rosa. | Photo: Cor Vos

15.05.2021 | (rsn) – Since Thursday, the prestigious Maglia Rosa has been gracing the shoulders of Attila Valter (Groupama – FDJ). As the first professional cyclist from Hungary, he managed to win a jersey from one of the three major rounds that lasted three weeks and defend them in the next two days. Besides the favorites, the 22-year-old crossed the finish line at Guardia Sanframundi on Saturday and maintained an 11-second lead over Belgian Rymco Evinbuell (Dikkonink – Kwik Step) In the eighth stage He again wore the white shirt of the young professional on behalf of Walther.

“The hardest part of the tour is yet to come,” explained Walter, who came from a place not far from Budapest and joined the Polish team, “but it really went well for me and I now have the opportunity to compete in the general standings.” CCC team just one year ago turned professional. Walther has his roots in mountain biking which is why he still struggles to be positioned in a large field.

The Groupama professional said, “This is still a problem for me, but I usually haven’t missed anything up front on such tours,” and probably no one with him. In pink jersey Was expecting. He experienced a shock moment early in the stage when the edge of wind divided the field and found himself in the second set, initially cut off from his team.

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Walter explained, pointing to Roman Bardet (DSM) and Vincenzo Nibali (Trek – Segafredo), who were also surprised by the edge of the wind. But the hard mode was defused again relatively quickly.

With each day wearing the pink T-shirt, the self-confidence increases

“No team wants to be up to the full attack level from the first kilometer to the last kilometer on a stage like this. It was still a long way to the finish line, but I saw that I shouldn’t be dependent on other drivers. I always have to drive and be alert,” he says. Walter, who had a wonderful learning process in his second start at Giro. On his debut last October, he took 27th out of the public eye.

But he’s now in the spotlight and so he had to ask himself at the press conference who would turn in the shirt on Sunday. Walter said, “Normally I have nothing to do with the race movement in the front, and I haven’t progressed much in such a big race. But it gives me confidence,” and emphasized this with a bold statement: “Why should I” not keep the shirt? “

With each passing day as a leader, he seems to feel more comfortable. Of his role as class leader, he said, “I am no longer a stranger or a stranger. Everyone knows this shirt to me.” Two more stages separate him from the first day of rest, but Sunday especially with the tough Abruzzo stage will be tough. “It could all be over quickly,” Walter was aware of the danger of giving the shirt to a stalker after only three days.

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An advantage over the gravel slopes of a former mountain biker?

He was particularly influenced by Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), who seemed very confident, especially during the Edge of the Wind stance at the start of the stage. “When you see how he moves on the field and that he can always be found in the top fifteen, you understand why he can win such races,” he even took the Colombian as an example. “I have learned a lot in the past few days, but I know I can learn more,” he added.

Whether he’s still wearing Maglia Rosa after the ninth stage mainly depends on how strong he is Immediate stalkers Evenbull and Bernal introduce themselves. The last kilometers you reach Campo Felice, “Happy Place”, a gravel car park at the edge of a ski area, driving down dusty roads, is Valter’s former element, who still loves to ride a cobblestone or mountain bike.

However, he does not see any major advantages. “I like the picture of the stage, but I know it’s going to be really difficult. I don’t think gravel is going to be a big problem, but rather the many kilometers of asphalt in front of it that make the day so difficult,” said runner Giro Front in the lead.