Spanish journalist Diego Ayús has gone viral after he ran uphill for over a minute alongside Chris Froome during the stage 13 time trial, filming the Tour de France champion and receiving plaudits from Froome for his effort.
“Somehow I saw that Froome arrived with no police or TV motorbikes around so I thought that was my chance to record a video following him up the Muro de Ezaro while I could,” Ayús told Cycling Weekly.
The stage 13 individual time trial featured a kick up to the finish line. 1.8km in length, the climb averages 14.8 per cent, hitting a horrifying maximum of 28 per cent in places.
In the video, Ayús films Froome as he passes, then runs after him. 15 seconds later, Froome shakes his head in disbelief, smiling and laughing at Ayús and saying ‘impresionante’.
“‘That means ‘amazing’ when I’m running next to him,” Ayús explained. “Then I shout to him: ‘c’mon, you are an idol’ and to my surprise he answers me and says ‘gracias’.
“Finally, when he reaches the 30 per cent slope, he whispers ‘qué repecho’ which means ‘what a slope!'”
After a minute, Ayús finally runs out of puff, as Froome continues to power on up the road.
“To be honest, I was just aware to keep the distance with him because of the coronavirus issues,” Ayús said.
But what was his secret to keeping up?
“I wasn’t conscious at that moment of how hard it was! I guess it’s just that I’m 20 years old. I didn’t really think that much and just went for it and successfully got this video that I will remember all my life!”
Froome is currently lying in 85th place overall at the 2020 Vuelta, two and a half hours behind Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) as he continues to build form after making his comeback from injury.
The Spanish Grand Tour will be his final race for Ineos Grenadiers as he moves to Israel Start-Up Nation next season.