La Vuelta a Espania

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Posted on: 14th September 2014

Cycling in Spain

Vuelta Bog #8: Our penultimate ride.

The spectacular beach at our hotel’s doorstep has proven to be a major distraction and something a pro-rider learns to resist. Our guests are here and holiday and so it’s good to see the other side of racing, the human side of holidaying with a bike. So it was once again a slightly modified ride plan and we were off on a shortened version of our itinerary.

Like yesterday, it was a mid-morning ride departure, heading East into the morning sun, and glorious weather it was. The finish today was several hundred kms away so we planned to do a loop in the Serra do Cando Park, which offered a number of steep ascents and uninhabited scenery, perfect for riding. 

However, the highlight was stopping for lunch in the hillside village of Ponte Caldelas, where the house specialty was an entre of squid followed by roast goat. The whole tour has provided a fantastic taste of Spanish food but this was an exceptional mid-ride lunch.  Luckily this was at the highest point of the day and despite a couple of pinches, it was mostly downhill back to our hotel in Sanxenxo where cold beer and comfy chairs in the local bar in front of the big screen would again entertain us. 

Knowing that Michael was a little anxious to put in a more energetic return, I escorted the up-and-coming climber over the climb used in a Vuelta finale a few days ago (Monte Castrove). Michael has proven to be strong and unchallenged by the other champions in our fold this week.

We witnessed on TV Alberto Contador ride away from Chris Froome in the final 500mts to take the penultimate stage at Puerto de Ancares. This is after Froome had buried himself trying to unload all followers for most of the final climb. 

It was a scene we have become accustomed to at this year’s Vuelta a España, ever since the Stage 1 team time trial where Sky lost 8 precious seconds on the Tinkoff Saxo outfit. Chris Froome was left trying to recover an additional 55 seconds precious seconds after a disappointing mid-race individual time-trial. 

It has made exciting viewing and it’s not over yet, however the Spaniard would have to suffer a catastrophic crash for there to be an upset in the podium places. Interestingly, the top 5 in today’s stage is the order they sit in GC, so I guess it’s a true reflection of the riders’ efforts.

My next update will be the last from this year’s Vuelta, topping off a great tour in Santiago de Compestela.

Written by Phil Anderson

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