On the road they pass by one more group of cyclists. Like so many fans, they travel stages of more than 100 kilometers that they later comment on at the refreshment station on duty. But nevertheless, when they take off their goggles and helmet, they abandon their anonymity. At that table of amateur cyclists several Leagues, Cups, Uefas, European Super Cups and Champions League finals …
Albelda, Vicente, Juan Sánchez, Camarasa, Robert Fernández, Javi Navarro and Tárraga (sometimes they are joined Mendieta) are the components of the cycling group of ex-valencianistas that for a few hours they exchange the ball for the bike. Most of them are still linked to football in one way or another. But during that time they try to emulate the Pogacar, Roglic, or Froome. “Camarasa, Robert or Albelda have been riding bikes for many years and little by little we have been adding “, says Juan Sánchez.
The post-stage gathering inevitably begins with the state of form of each one. But in the end, you always end up talking about football. And this week it’s Valencia-Real Madrid, a rivalry game in which many of them were protagonists. Robert has many battles to tell of his duels against Madrid. Not in vain, he scored four goals during his career (three with Valencia), an unforgettable one, in 1992, which culminated a comeback in three minutes, to end up winning 2-1.
But in direct duels against whites, Albelda, Vicente and Sánchez take the cake. The three they raised two leagues in three years to Madrid of the Galacticos in 2002 and 2004. And in their confrontations sparks flew. “The games against Madrid they were always specialIt didn’t matter how they or us arrived. I remember Zidane’s debut: we won 1-0 and ended up taking that league… Obviously now there is a factor that is not available: Mestalla, “recalls Albelda.”There were matches with a lot of rivalry, some we win. The fans went crazy with those games. Madrid had Zidane, Raúl, Beckham, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Figo… It was incredible to fight them, “explains Sánchez.”Over the years, those two leagues are given more value against that Madrid and against a Barça that was another great team, “he adds.
Perhaps tomorrow the game will be more unequal than then, although Valencia always grows against Madrid. “Kids like Gayà or Carlos Soler I know they’re going to pull the car, but the team needs all the players to win the games “, Albelda and Sánchez agree. Permanence, right now, is the objective:” Valencian fans are restless, worried; the results do not come out and the planning that has been done … it is normal that one looks only at permanence“.