1990 BANESTO. Dándolo todo en La Vuelta, como en el Tour.

He began the year with a new name on his team jersey, that of Banesto, although there were no structural changes in the old Reynolds team. Echáverri continued to count on his leaders, Gorospe and Induráin for the week long tours, as well as the Vuelta, and reserve Perico for the Tour de France. Gorospe won the Tour of the Basque Country and Induráin won the Paris-Nice race for the second year running.

In the Tour of Spain that year, a successful suicide break on the road to Ubrique in the 6th stage gave Julián Gorospe a 4 minute and 8 second lead and put him at the top of the general classification. Marco Giovannetti went up to 2nd place. Perico and his team put all their trust in their team-mate. Four days later on the ascent towards the end of the stage in San Isidro, Gorospe began to lose time just at the foot of the mountain pass. His team-mates hoped he would recover and with only 4 km to the finish, the Italian also encountered difficulties.

With Gorospe’s hopes dashed and Induráin ill, it was up to Delgado to fight for the general classification. The next day in the Naranco, he robbed a few seconds from the Italian, in Valdcezcaray he gained a further 40″ and in the Zaragoza time trial he mustered another 32″. Perico was now 3rd overall. On the last but one stage in the Madrid mountains which brought back good memories for Pedro, he was on the point of coming first but Giovannetti hung on and Delgado finally finished 2nd overall. «With Julián out of the fight and Induráin ill, I had to take over the responsibility in the team. But maybe it was too late, because Giovannetti knew how to use the advantage he had over me for the rest of the Vuelta and the only days he had problems were when Gorospe was in the lead».

In 1990 the Reynolds team is renamed Banesto. La Vuelta 1990, the stage to Ubrique. Giovanetti manages to resist Delgado’s fierce attacks to the end.

What happened at the beginning of this year’s in the Tour was virtually unheard of. In the 140-km morning stage, a break of 4 riders (Pensec, Chiappucci, Bauer and Massen) got to the Finish with 10 minutes advantage over the rest. Behind them nobody wanted to take charge so soon and chase to bring them back in. In the afternoon team time trial, Banesto gained nearly a minute over LeMond and Fignon.

As usual, the first individual time trial, which was 61.5 km long, began to clarify the general classification. The Segovian was 4th and recovered 6″ from the American (his reference point in these stages, as Fignon had abandoned).

On the first mountain stage (the ascent to Mont Blanc) Delgado launched his first attack and continued to decrease the difference from those in the leading positions, all of which strengthened his hopes for the next stage in the Alpe d’Huez. Banesto went straight into battle and sent Induráin ahead to bridge the gap perfectly for Delgado who broke away with enormous strength. Only Bugno and LeMond could keep his wheel. «I tried to break away from them on the last ascent . I went as hard as I could, but that day I just couldn’t muster enough strength. I betted hard and lost 40″ which really upset me».

Perico didn’t lose hope and in the uphill time trial in Villard de Lans, he was second just behind Breukink, despite breaking down at 2-km to the Finish where he had to change his bicycle. Chiappucci went into the lead with LeMond at 7″ and Delgado 5th at 9’02».«In my mind I laid my trust in the Pyrenees which were still to come and which had always brought me more luck».

«On the way to Millau on the 14th stage, I began suffer from a terrible stomach ache and was dying to stop. I attacked in the last few kilometres, with the idea of getting to the finish as soon as possible, rather than putting distance against my rivals (LeMond always got on my wheel when the road went uphill)». From then on the Tour was torture for him. His gastroenteritis never got better and he became dehydrated and weaker as each day went by. «I got as far as third in the overall but I had no strength to fight for the yellow jersey; it seemed as if the end would never come». He finished 4th and absolutely exhausted.

«I had no luck whatsoever, whereas everything was upside for LeMond. Chiappucci would have won the Tour if it hadn’t been for the Saint Etienne stage (stage 13)».

Stage 7th, time trial between Vittel – Epinal of 61.5 km. It ends in a creditable 4th place behind Alcala, Indurain and Bugno.

St. 11th, Alpe D’Huez. Pedro breaks the race apart, but is not strong enough to drop LeMond and Bugno (winner of the stage).