Not so long ago, it was assumed that foreign athletes had almost magical abilities. They arrived with a pure record and the enthusiasm of the masses did the rest, filling in the gaps with exceptional qualities that had nothing to do with reality. Radio or limited viewing on television also helped dispel stereotypes. A great narrative or competition summary can generate instant idols. Added some weirdness if the nickname is foreign. Today, with the abundance of information and the many forms available, it is difficult to leave any room for imagination.
More was added to that certain ambiguity of the unknown when they were part of the Discipline Pioneers Group. Dutch cyclist Matthew Hermanns had both spices. He came from abroad and became one of the first foreign cyclists to compete with a Spanish team. And besides, he won. And he did this by jogging, an art that added more interest to his character. Nine stage victories at Vuelta a España and another in the Tour de France are the highlights of an athlete who has slipped into the sporting memory of many Spaniards who have heard his name, carried over to other times. And to see the Caja Rural shirt again.
counterflow (The Road Books) is the book in which the cyclist himself captured his memories and experiences. For the Spanish edition, he had the help of journalist Juanfran de la Cruz, who drafted the original testimonies and added them from Pedro Larios, the person who signed it and brought it to Spain. Starting with that first stranger’s victory for him the Five Guilders and his father gave him a good reprimand, for he blamed him for leading his teammates almost to the finish. Years later, he would remember that you had to work for victories from the start. And also those that are set in the last meters of the flat stages: first, you have to fight so as not to get out of hand in the mountains.
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