"the record with a human face:
75 hours, 56 minutes and 31 seconds"
Oscar Perez is the king of the Tor des Géants 2012.
The spaniard crossed the finishing line first, setting a new record for this key race of the Aosta Valley, and one of the most difficult challenges in the world, with a time of: 75 hours, 56 minutes and 31 seconds.
And this record is entirely his own achievement. Perez ran the whole Tor alone, without any sponsor or support: he was driven exclusively by his physical and mental strength. He managed his stops and rests perfectly, he knew how to pace himself, he listened to his body and the people along the route, triumphed at the finishing line and... remained humble.
"I'm not a hero, I am just a good athlete. The true giant is the Tor", he said as soon as he had crossed the line. "But with perseverance and conviction, even a challenge as difficult as this can be overcome". And when he was asked about his most memorable moment of the race he said that it was: "At Valgrisenche, when a seventy-year-old man ran the last kilometre before the life base with me, encouraging me to make up the lost time".
After crossing the line, he did not move from the finishing line for the following days. He welcomed the finishers as they arrived at Courmayeur, and carried in the queen of the TDG 2012: Francesca Canepa, triumphantly over the line.
And finally, as he stood on the podium, he showed his emotions, embracing his wife who had been unable to support him throughout the race, but who had joined him for the prize-giving ceremony, to celebrate with him, with the simplicity of those who share life's journey.
His emotion, his focused gaze, and the simplicity with which he participated, ran, won and shared his Tor, will remain among the most moving imagines of this year's race.