Stage Three heads back into the hills; Ibi to Alicante over 188 kilometres, not as tough as Stage Two but with two third cat. climbs, the Puertos de Biar and Tibo – due to the geography of the stage we chose the latter.
I could never be a ski bum, 60 Euros per night for the room here at the top of Alpe-d’Huez - but you have to pay extra for sheets - and towels - there's no toilet paper - then you have to clean the place at the end of it. A bit like borstal really, with off-hand, condescending staff.
Gathering Momentum... The result in Lierde was backed up with an 8th in Geluwe (13/03/10). A chase of the lead group over the last 30km led to an exciting finish. Unfortunately the chase group I was in just run out of road to make the junction with the leaders... another km maybe would of done it! Even though some of the riders were pulled back six remained just in front and would fight it out for the win.
We caught-up with Evan Oliphant at Stanstead Airport on Sunday night, en route to Edinburgh. A lift to the airport from the GB squad bound for Italia and a cheapo Easyjet flight meant he would be home just hours after racing in central London. Tom Boonen went from villain to hero in 24 hours, winning the final stage to take his total of wins to 20 for the season so far.
Barring accidents or a dreadful time trial on Saturday it looks like Alejandro Valverde has stitched up his first Grand Tour (at last!). At the end of all of the big stage races we need to ask some questions and La Vuelta a España throws up some thought-provokers!
The girl in the petrol station where we just filled up was stunningly beautiful - I sent Dave back in to buy Coke, so he could see her; why don't they have girls like her in the filling station at Wester Hailes? The Gazzetta is on my lap as we head for 'partenza' in Sondrio. Even though you can't speak Italian, you can get the jist of most of what's being said; "Sorpresa Van Den Broeck, delusione Savoldelli."
The appearance of daffodils by the roadside at the The Gordon Arms Trophy served to remind you that despite the wonderful blue sky, it is in fact only just the beginning of spring; the morning was tempered by a pretty chilly nor-easterly, taking the temperature down enough to justify at least arm-warmers for most of the field, with gloves, leg-warmers and even overshoes the choice for many riders too.
In a classic Six Day finale points shoot-out with the result not confirmed until the finish line, classy Home Boy Michael Mørkøv paired with the current Capo of the Six Day boards, Belgium's Kenny De Ketele to land his seventh Copenhagen Six Day at midnight on Tuesday on the wide boards of the 250 metre Ballerup track.
VeloVeritas has spoken to Michael Broadwith in the past, when he won the national 24 hour championship in 2015 with a monstrous 537 miles. This time the distance was even more extreme: 844 miles, the distance between Lands End and John O’Groats, which he covered at an average speed of 19.438 mph. I try to be sparing with the superlatives but that is truly an amazing performance. Michael kindly gave of his time to us just a few days after his gargantuan ride.