Jesús Ezquerra pops the question at the 2019 Vuelta. Photo: Luis Angel Gomez/Cor Vos © 2019

It’s like the Worlds on your wedding day

Isn't it ironic.

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According to Brides Magazine, 96% of couples “freak the eff out” about planning a wedding. There are plates to choose, venues to hire, seating to allocate, playlists to craft, vows to write, cummerbunds to select. And if that’s not stressful enough, add the ripples from the UCI’s relegation battle to the mix, Spanish selection woes, and a World Championships in Wollongong. 

For Jesús Ezquerra (Burgos-BH), all of that stress has just descended at once. 

Ezquerra, fresh off his fourth and best Vuelta a España, had big plans for late September. Three years ago, he proposed to his partner during the final stage into Madrid – she was in the team car as he rode alongside popping the question, it was a whole thing – and over the years since, all of the finer details fell into place.

What he wasn’t counting on was a surprise selection for the Spanish national team, racing in Australia on the same weekend that he was supposed to get married. 

The blame for this matrimonial mayhem, at some level, has to go to the UCI. Their complicated, points-based relegation system has almost reached its tempestuous finale, leaving several teams facing an existential threat. 

Ezquerra’s team – the extremely purple Burgos-BH squad – is not a WorldTour team, and therefore unaffected. However, the biggest Spanish team, Movistar, is in enough danger that the team has blocked several of its riders from selection. Several other squads have followed suit.

That rules many of the strongest Spanish riders out of contention, and left the national coach looking some way down his list.  “Many teams are refusing to release their riders and this could be a catastrophe for many teams. Including ours,” said Pascual Momparler, the coach in question. “The UCI has put everyone between a rock and a hard place. It’s going to be an unusual World Championships.”

A contemplative moment for Ezquerra at the 2020 Vuelta. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Which leads us back to Jesús Ezquerra, who managed a couple of top 10 stage finishes at the Vuelta and found himself in Momparler’s sights. Originally on a shortlist, the Cantabrian’s selection was finally confirmed this week, supporting team leader Marc Soler. “It was a real surprise for me,” Ezquerra told CyclingNews.

“If it’s for something like this, it hurts less to change the wedding date,” Ezquerra told Marca. “I’m going to delay it for a week. My future wife is also happy and excited about this issue because she knows it’s a dream. Both things are important, the wedding more. She is the main thing, but we have decided to delay it.”

An attempt to contact Ezquerra to confirm whether or not this turn of events led him to “freak the eff out” was unsuccessful. 

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