Jesús and José Herrada, before the third stage of the Volta.LA VOLTA
After Tuesday's stage, the ascent to the Vallter
, the Cofidis coach headed for a charming and warm hotel hidden in the Ripollés mountains.
There, after the regenerative massage and before dinner, the brothers José and Jesús Herrada, aged 37 and 32, in the warmth of a fireplace, attend EL PAÍS to review a life dedicated to cycling.
They only have a few days left to share equipment, a room and the peloton, since José has already decided that he will get off his bike at the end of the course.
For the three Herrada children, the bicycle was the most normal thing during their childhood, since their father, although always in an amateur way, rode many hours.
Fernando, the eldest, made it to youth but in the end he opted to study a career.
“Although later he tried again because he came to run a Spanish Elite championship in Ponferrada”, highlights José.
"Yes, he entered a lot and had a good level, but another thing is the competition...", says Jesús, who had his doubts between the ball and the two wheels.
He was a more than correct left-wing winger and played with all his friends.
“But in football there are many people and it is more difficult to stand out.
So in cadets I went back to cycling”, says Jesús, who at that time was paying close attention to Marco Pantani.
José, however, preferred the figure of Escartín.
"I don't know if because of the gesture of suffering,
but I was a big fan of his”, he slides, while acknowledging that he chose him when he played caps with his friends in the town, Mota del Cuervo.
Distractions that did not prevent him from being a correct student -not so the little one, more lazy and with the bad habit of leaving everything to the end- nor dedicating himself to the bike, capable of making a place for himself among the professionals until in 2011 he arrived at the Caja Rural.
Precisely, in that same course, Movistar signed Jesús, who stood out among the juniors.
And he took a good course that helped Eusebio Unzué [Movistar's general manager] look at José with better eyes.
"We had had conversations, but it had not just been decided," explains the older man.
And although they were formed as runners and people under the ranks of the Spanish team, they understood that their future did not pass through there.
"They were good years, but we had few opportunities with teammates like Nairo Quintana or Alejandro Valverde, so I also think it was good for us to get out of that comfort zone and go to a foreign team like Cofidis [in 2018]," reflects Jesús .
“I didn't care a little more because he was the winner.
But he also needed a change and he wanted to go with it”, José expands.
Thus, there are already 12 seasons with the same jersey.
“After so many years together I almost don't even realize how lucky we are to share the peloton and team”, explains José.
"But if you think about it, being in the elite for so many years in the same team... We are very lucky."
The only bad point, they agree, is when there is a fall in the peloton, since both look with concern that their brother is not among those involved.
It happens that this will no longer happen next year, since José will get off the bike.
“I already thought about it last year, but as I withdrew from the last Vuelta, due to the covid, I understood that I wanted to continue for another year.
I still feel good and I don't want to leave him with a big drop in my performance”, José slides.
But they still have this year ahead of them, many hours between the colored snake and, incidentally,
José is more orderly and usually goes to bed earlier because he has a different schedule, already the father of three children – “You come to the races to rest!” jokes Jesús-, which is why he also wants to leave it because he wants to be more at home.
And although there are no secrets between them, it is not uncommon for them to remain silent and simply enjoy their company.
“Sometimes we don't even talk to each other… But with him it's comfortable silence.
He is not like a partner with whom you do not have so much confidence and it seems that you have to be talking about something ”, reflects José.
Jesús, in any case, will miss those silences like having him close on the road, either in competition or even in training, when they tend to sting as they do everything, be it paddle tennis, fronton or trial.
He will miss him too José,
There are other brothers in the peloton, such as the Serranos (Gonzalo in Movistar and Javier in Eolo), the Izaguirres (Ion in Cofidis and Gorka in Movistar), the Yates (Adam in UAE and Simon in Jayco)… And even they share a jersey as the García Piernas (Raúl and Carlos at Kern Pharma; and the Azparrens, Xabier Mikel and Enekoitz at Euskaltel).
But none have spent so much time or races, so many moments to remember, as the tears of Jesús after winning a stage in the Vuelta in 2019 to dedicate it to José, who lost the previous stage in the final
But they will have time for the battles, today, like tomorrow and the next day they will be in the Volta, one of the last races they will share.
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