1991 BANESTO. Following in the footsteps of 1988.
Pedro began the season with his head focused more than ever on the Tour of France. As he had done in 1988, he decided not to take part in the Vuelta but to ride the Giro. Once again it didn’t bring him good results.«Too many competition days before the Giro and some bad weather, made me start off the Giro tired and lacking in punch. When I saw that I wasn’t in good enough form to compete well, all my ambition went and my mind turned to the Tour».
|Giro 1991, Pedro discovered the impossible ramps of the Mortirolo mountain. Its development 39×25..||The beauty of the Dolomites. Passo Pordoi. Giro’91.
Banesto decided to restructure the team and after Induráin’s good performance the year before, there would be two leaders for this year’s in Tour, Pedro and Miguel.
The beginning was not so good. A break in the morning sector of the first stage, which included Breukink and LeMond, made Banesto work excessively to avoid the situation that had occurred the year before. The break was successful and made the finish with 1’44» advantage over the main field. Banesto did better in the team time trial and only lost 16″ to Lemond’s Z team. A salutary lesson was Indurain’s victory in the 73 km long individual time trial on the 8th stage. Delgado was 8th at 2’05» which placed him 12th at 4’30» from LeMond.
Then came the long awaited mountain stages.«This year I never found my ground in the Tour. I wasn’t in tune when I climbed and little by little I lost confidence in my chances. In the second stage of the Pyrenees and at the beginning of the ascent to the Tourmalet, this became reality. I just couldn’t keep up and I lost touch of the main group. From then on, I broke down psychologically and went on to form one of the many small groups that come about in the mountain stages in order to make it to the finish. Fortunately for me, Indurain managed to take the lead in the race and thus my bad result in the stage went nearly unnoticed. I was 23rd to pass the finish line at 14’10» and in the general classification I was 13th at 16’30»- not exactly my best result».
He accepted his role of domestique de luxe for Induráin with grace and thus redeemed himself of all responsibility after the last few unsuccessful Tours. Even so he finished 9th overall.
Col of Aravis (st. 18th) Bugno, Delgado, Chiappucci, Indurain and Abelardo Rondón on the right.
|Triumphal ride on the Champs Elysées.|
«The Giro of Italy was a warning that neither my directeur sportif nor I considered important. So much competition before both the Giro and the Tour made me start the Tour with a lack of «hunger» for riding. I was tired and needed a period of rest. I was already 31 and as the years don’t pass in vain, we should have programmed the season better». Years later, the same thing happened to Indurain in the 1996 Tour of France.
However Pedro was by no means finished as he went on to demonstrate during the rest of the season and garnered various victories. Amongst others, he won the Tour of Burgos (ahead of Bugno), the Subida a Urkiola and was 2nd in the Tour of Catalunya just behind his team-mate Indurain.
Vuelta a Burgos. Delgado with his teammate.
|Volta a Cataluña. Monte Caro mountain. Delgado working for Indurain.