Sunday, October 17, 2021
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Saunier Duval Team Launch – Day 4


Saunier Duval camp, day four. I didn’t sleep too clever last night (Saturday). I think the café con leche I had just before the presentation had enough caffeine in it to keep even Gianni Bugno happy.

The team and personnel all headed off today (Sunday): Virginie and Pascal back to Switzerland; Denis Flahaut rides the Tour Down Under; whilst Leonardo Piepoli goes to Argentina.

Mauro was on a plane this morning before anyone knew, and was away – the next deal, the next meeting?

It took me until around 3.00 pm on Sunday to write-up all of yesterday’s work and get all the emails away. There’s are always little additional things you have to do – in the piece about the launch, I specifically referred to a couple of riders who I didn’t have individual photographs of.

Saunier Duval
Denis Flahaut is off to Oz.

With a big-budget website, whoever is putting the piece up, would go to their archives or one of the photo agencies like Cor Vos or Bettini and get the relevant pics. At our level though, it’s down to me to dig up the pics from one of my sources and email them to Jered Gruber, our ‘net wizard who designs the layouts and puts most of the words and pictures up.

Once I was happy that I was ‘done,’ as the Americans say, I headed off to the Alhambra.

Unfortunately, all the wonderful interiors were “out of bounds” today, the armed police on patrol meant that no one questioned this state of affairs.

The buildings and location are stunning, high on a rocky promintory above the city of Granada, built by the Moors (Arabs) around 900 years ago, when they ruled Spain.

There was some sort of ceremony going-on with a dozen-or-so folks dressed-up as ‘Moors’ – I’m not sure if The Moors had Nokias, digital cameras and smoked Ducados, though.

Like a lot of European cities (Edinburgh and Glasgow included) there are huge, grotty, medium and high-rise housing estates all round the perimeter of Granada, the old city centre is different.

Little squares with fountains, and trees full of song birds; tiny alleys with arab guys pedalling their wares, old cafés and bars, well-dressed Spanish couples out for their evening promenade – a place to spend time and explore, where you can wrap-up and sit outside with your beer and watch the world go-by.

I tracked-down the Hotel Reina Cristina, where the poet and playwrite, Lorca spent his last days before the Fascists hauled him off to his death during the Spanish Civil War. The hotel is not that much different to how it was back in the 30’s and the bar serves great tapas and beer at prices which remind you how cheap Spain is compared to Scotland. Three euros for a coffee would start another Civil War here.

If I had been in company and on holiday, I would probably still be scraping-about the back alleys of Granada just now, but when the job’s finished, I don’t really have the head for that; the adrenaline’s all gone and it’s time to go home.

Monday – Pablo Ruiz Picasso air terminal, Malaga. The little Peugeot has gone back to Hertz and I’m waiting on the check-in opening.

Reality beckons – rain, wind, expensive prices and the inevitable – “You were workin’? Aye, right! I’ll bet you got some drink down you when you were out there!”

Still, soon be Het Volk!

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Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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