The Vuelta starts in a few day's time and so in this week's 'VV Selects' we look back at our last day covering the race nine years ago, when the stage began in Gijón. We conducted the now-popular 'chat at the team buses' to hear some thoughts from DS's Gert-Jan Theunisse, Dimitri Konyshev, Hendrik Redant and Rik Van Slycke, and various riders such as on-form Carlos Barredo, Greg Van Avermaet and the late Wouter Weylandt.
Santander airport, the queues are horrible and we'll have another one for the Stansted to Prestwick flight, no doubt. After yesterday's grim weather we're bathed in beautiful sunshine today. The stage start was in Gijón so we rattled up from Cangas de Onis for our last look at the 2010 Vuelta.
Carlos Barredo's grandmother wells up, 'my God, my God' she keeps repeating as Carlos's amigo hugs her - the man himself hurtled past just seconds ago to join the immortals as a winner on the Lagos de Covadonga. They're standing beside us at the 150m to go mark, and in the mist and cloud once again, QuickStep have done the job. The break survivors limp by before a snarling Ezequiel Mosquera flashes past, intent on putting as much time into the other 'heads' as he possibly can.
It's 10:00 pm and we've just finished dinner in our 'local' at Cangas de Onis, we were here last night too. The Mahou is cold, the food is good and the wi-fi is free. It's a working dinner, words and pictures get dealt with in between patatas bravas and chorizo. 'Lagos de Covadonga' - one of the Vuelta legends.
'Why do you want to go further, nothing is there?' the cute park ranger asks us; she's guarding the last section of the fabled climb.
We're beside Lago Enol, one of the beautiful Lagos de Covadonga and we need to drive the finale to complete our mission for the day.
'Two minutes?' we plead with her - 'you have ten and then I come looking for you!' she smiles.
She's right, low cloud, grass, rock and no lightweight climbers - just a lone Asturian cow...
La Vuelta a España in Burgos. Friday: Alarm at 03:15, bolt at 04:00, 90 minutes to Prestwick, flight at 06:00, Stansted, flight at 14:00 - and here we are, Santander. Santander is the main town of Cantabria; but we're headed south to Burgos which is in Castilla y Leon, the same region as Madrid.
On Friday La Vuelta a Espana arrives in Burgos, Castile y León, having travelled from Rincón de Soto, famous as the pear capital of La Rioja. The riders will have endured almost 200km of undulating terrain, and conquered the Pradilla and Valmala passes towards the end of the stage on the way. Bunch sprint? We wouldn't bet on it.
Dozens of SMS and emails flash up on my BlackBerry each day, most are chaff and get deleted after a quick glance — but when one comes in to tell me that ‘Michael Mørkøv excluded from the Vuelta by WADA’ that makes me take notice.
The La Vuelta a España 2010 presentation was in Sevilla this year (normally Madrid), the start town of next year's race. Some of the old stars of cycling where in attendance; Thevenet, Olano, Hinault and introducing the show Pedro Delgado. Hinault pointed out that one of his hardest day on a bike was the stage to Avila in 1983 which he won stage and overall.
It was ironic that Chris Anker Sørensen’s life should end doing what he had become known for after his career as a professional cyclist was over – preparing meticulously for his role as a TV race commentator, out riding the parcours of Sunday’s World Individual Time Trial Championship in Flanders.
We liked our jaunt to the Tour of the Campsies last year and feel at home among the rolling countryside and green hills there so we headed west, first of all paying our respects to the Robert Millar mural at the foot of the Crow Road; when you watch Roglič take the Lagos di Covadonga stage in the Vuelta it’s difficult to imagine the wee fella from Glasgow winning that stage – but win it he did.
We had a look around Hawick as the 2021 Tour of Britain race carnival hit town, we caught up with friends then headed out on the course, hiding from the wind on Wanside Rig to see the peloton as it headed towards Gifford...
With victories already this season in various time trial distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles (with a two mile hill climb win too), Iain Macleod (Kelpie Racing) added the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial 2021 title to his growing palmarès.
The Ribble ‘Ultra Aero’ is a beautiful piece of machinery and in the manner of the best British speed machines – Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lotus, Norton – pulls off that trick of looking very quick even when it’s standing still. We caught up with Ribble CEO, Andy Smallwood and ex-pro and DS, Jamie Burrow, Ribble’s head of product development; here’s what they had to say.
Congratulations are in order as Christina Mackenzie became the fastest-ever woman to traverse the largest of the British Isles from it’s south western to north eastern tips. Christina, originally from the Isle of Lewis but now Stirling-based took time to speak to VeloVeritas a day or two after her epic ride.
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