La Vuelta a Espania

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Posted on: 7th September 2014

Cycling in Spain – Austurias

Vuelta Dispatch #1: Welcome to Asturias

Our 2014 Vuelta a Espana tour is underway and it’s a great feeling to get away from the Melbourne winter in exchange for the Spanish sun. We collected the boys and it appeared to be a real man’s trip. After intros and a quick bike check it was into the super beaut van and off to the races. 

After a short hour of driving, coffee was on the cards at Cafe Bar Jais in Mieres, while Rudy unloaded the collection of high-end bikes. Soon we were off on our welcome ride. Usually this involves a 30 to 45km roll where we ease into the local conditions and Rudy and I have a chance to chance to size up abilities (as well as find a bit of our own form) and importantly, for guests get to know their new riding companions. Today would be different though; since our guests are all close riding buddies and even work colleagues, we had a good 100km stint in the mountains ahead of us. Still, while everyone was a friend, there was quite a variance in fitness, making the mountainous route tough. 

We had a few regrouping stops and a few more animal-crossing delays, but we came into the final climbs together, where we were to see the finish climb of La Vuelta’s stage 14. I can’t remember ever racing a hill as steep as the La Camperona. The final 3k had an average of 14% pitching up to 24 in places. Anyhow, it was a bitch. No one was laughing at Rudy’s 26×28 (and that is 28 on the back). We had a great up close view of the race, seeing Hesjedal bridge up and pass Zaugg in the final few hundred meters. And Froome also pulling one out of the bag when it looked like it was over for him, he fought back in the final km to Condator and take a small time gap at the finishline. 

At the end of the day we are glad we chose the challenging welcome course to our Vuelta tour and the meal which followed was superb. We certainly earned it today!

More to come as we head south west into more mountains and some beautiful coast.

Written by Phil Anderson

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