Politics and Cycling… I did a Vuelta preview the other day; I mentioned the Castillan (Spanish), Basque, Catalan and Galician languages.
But Al Hamilton has put me right; “Spain has five languages registered at the EU; Castillano, Basque, Galician, Catalan and Valenciano.”
It reminded me of what they say about Belgium; “there’s no such place as Belgium.”
It’s a conundrum, that diversity is what makes Spain the country it is.
Davie Henderson and I travelled northern Spain a few years ago – you only think you’re politically aware until you visit the Basque country.
Flags and graffiti proliferate; we were in Vittoria and witnessed a political demonstration about the Madrid government’s decision to scatter ‘political’ prisoners in jails throughout Spain. Thus preventing cliques or power bases from building up in Basque jails. But it’s not handy if you live in Bermeo and your son is imprisoned in Cadiz.
In the UK we don’t even scratch the surface of political involvement – maybe if we’d lived under Franco for nearly 40 years we’d have a different mindset?
The prologue – Al thinks it’s too short for Cancellara, I don’t. But Tyler Farrar is worth watching, he won the prologue in the Delta Tour, was second in the Eneco prologue then won three stage in the same race – he’s ‘hot!’
I’m not a huge fan of Grand Tours starting outside of their own borders; I know that the Tour has been a huge success – in terms of numbers of folks roadside – when it has started in England, but there’s just something in my mind that says; “publicity stunt and money.”
I know that the big races are business ventures and have to turn a profit, I guess I’m just old fashioned.
The Guardian really gets behind the Vuelta – bear in mind that Philip Deignan, Roger Hammond, David Millar and Charly Wegelius all start – “Armstrong confident of taking fight to Contador for eighth Tour title.”
I suppose it’s like tabloids and reality TV – “we’re just giving the public what they want.”
Cancellara to win, Tyler up there.