Miguel Indurain will compete in the Garmin Titan Desert 2020

November 26 th 2019 - 12:30

© Xavier Solanas

· The best Spanish cyclist of all time wants to become a Titan: “I had been toying with the idea for ages and now I feel like doing some new things”.

· He will ride as part of the KH-7 team led by Melcior Mauri, who was his team-mate 25 years ago.

· His race number will be ‘15’, as the event is celebrating its 15th edition, and to recall that he was the first winner of the Tour de France for five consecutive years, and the only person to achieve that ever.

Edition number 15 of the Garmin Titan Desert, which will be held from 19 to 24 April 2020, will have a very special rider in it. Miguel Indurain, the best Spanish cyclist of all time and one of the best in the world, will line up at the start with the KH-7 team. “I will try and finish, and enjoy the 6 days. It will be yet another race, but this time the main aim is to finish”, Miguel Indurain said in a recent visit to KH-7’s facility in Canovelles (Barcelona).

The five-time winner of the Tour de Francie will swap the Tourmalet or Alpe d’Huez for the dunes of Merzouga. He has very little experience on the mountain bike but does not see this as a major obstacle. “The Titan is more about rhythm. If you come from road racing it’s a bit easier. However, there are always technical factors, dunes and navigation, so I hope they will teach me how to do it!”. One of his main mentors will be Melcior Mauri, director and team-mate in KH-7.

Melcior Mauri convinced him
The two men will be team-mates again a quarter of a century after they rode together for Banesto. “I had been thinking about it for a few years, Melcior regularly spoke to me about the event. Before, I told him the time was not right, but this year he convinced me. It will be a new experience”.

His race number will be ‘15’. As well as paying tribute to the 15 editions of the Titan, this bib has another special meaning: the Spanish rider was the first man to win the Tour de France five times and is the only person ever to win them consecutively (1+5). There’s a curious detail too: he won his first Tour wearing number ‘35’, his first Giro with ‘25’ and will take on his first North African adventure with number ‘15’.

Miguel Indurain Larraya (Villava, Spain, 16-7-1964), up on the podium with the best Spanish sportspeople of all time, will leave the forest of Irati in April 2020 – his usual training ground – to go deep into the Sahara Desert. Pedalling in the heat was always one of his strong points as a rider, so he already has an advantage there. “I’ve never been in the desert. This year I fancied doing something different and trying out new things”.

“Olano and other cyclists have told me great things about the Titan”

Other great cyclists of his era have taken on the Titan, such as Abraham Olano, Laurent Jalabert and Claudio Chiapucci; the latter was one of Miguel’s great rivals in the mountain stages of the Tour. “Abraham and others told me about the race and they had really enjoyed it. It is tough, and you have to be fit to do it because there are hard moments during the race. It’s a challenge, like when taking on a major event”. Miguel has continued to ride since he stopped in 1996 as a professional rider, and has an amazing record of triumphs. Apart from wining the Tour de France five times, he won the Giro d’Italia on two occasions and was also Olympic and World Time Trial Champion. He even smashed the hour record, among many other achievements.

When Miguel told Melcior Mauri that he would be taking part in the Titan, Melcior was “moved”, because he had been trying to persuade Miguel for years. The KH-7 team will have a star line-up: Josep Betalú, the winner of the last four editions, and Anna Ramírez, a three-time winner, will be the spearheads. Sylvain Chavanel (highest number of participations in the Tour de France: 18) will also line up at the start again, together with cyclo-tourists and amateurs whose aim will be to just finish the race. “We are going there with a very strong rider structure. We will be one of the most numerous teams, with even more than 50 riders”, Mauri adds.

Juan Porcar, the CEO of the Titan World Series, admits that “I could not imagine that after so many years Miguel Indurain would find the motivation to participate in the race. The very fact that he will come is a sign of how the Garmin Titan Desert is consolidating itself”. Finally, Josep Maria Lloreda, president of KH Lloreda, says that “for the company, cycling is one of the sports that allows us to get closer to our customers, and having a multiple champion like Miguel Indurain with us is undoubtedly a success. You could not ask for more”.

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