What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vuelta a Pez 3: A Bad Day In Cataluсa

You all think it’s easy, swanning around taking photos of famous cyclists and beautiful women, well that’s the plan, but like the days I spent in and around Lloret de Mar, things often don’t go exactly as planned…

Bugdet Blown
It all started on the autopista, you have to pay, I’m used to this, but in Cataluсa they are so expensive, to go from Valencia to Barcelona was over 20 euros and then going round Barcelona you had to pay a couple of euros every few kilometers, so for the journey it cost 70 euros. OK I did do 1,300 kilometers, but 70 euros wiped out the PEZ Spanish bureau’s Vuelta expense account in one go.

Wearing hot photographers’ vests and enduring searing temps in Spain, it’s all in a day’s work for our trusty PEZ-journo…

As I got nearer Lloret de Mar the traffic got heavier, I was on the course, but it hadn’t been closed yet and there people and cars trying to go all ways and the local police were not handling it. At one point I nearly did a Heras and crossed the bollards in the middle of the road, I think I would have got more than a 10 second penalty, even with the official accreditation on the car I don’t think the police would have been too impressed with me driving on the wrong side of the road just because I needed a free coffee from the press room!

So what free goodies did I get this time? Today it was quality not quantity, no hats, no T-shirts, no stickers or pens. The nice people from HP (Hewlett-Packard) who gave me the umbrella in 40єC and not a cloud for miles, gave me a very special watch, it has a USB cable connection and a memory of 32 MB, it also tells the time, I forgave them for the things they said about my laptop.

Eeney, meeney, miney, moe… which of you lovely girls will be the next PEZ interview?

Now to do some work, free food today was pizza, paella, beans and lentils, to drink – Isostar, coffee, Pepsi, Fanta Orange and as much mineral water as you want. That seen to, I was off to photograph more beautiful girls. As it was so hot there were more skirts, but more shadow causing umbrellas. I had also set up interviews with two of the podium girls, the first was easy as I found Marina (you can read it soon) without any problems, the other with Angeles not so, as she was holding up the riders on the start ramp. You might remember Angeles from last year, she was one of the Communidad Valenciana girls, and it wasn’t going to happen as she was pushing off all day.

We’d hoped to line up an interview with the enchanting Angeles, but apparently the riders wanted her in the start house all day.

The next plan was to get in a car behind one of the riders in the time trial. At the prologue it was easy, but here no one was interested or the car was full, I really wanted to get in the Pelayo, it was full of beauties, but no. I could have used my own car, but with all the driving I had done it was the last thing I wanted to do.

Famous people were a bit thin on the ground, top photographer Graham Watson said “hallo” and so did the Scottish Quick-Step bus driver, who last year saved me driving round and round Madrid as I saw him and followed his bus hoping he was going to the start and not the airport or somewhere else.

Even Tom Boonen enjoys the odd distraction…

Visited the Scott truck, which was mobbed as usual, but has to be the best at the race. Tom Boonen was spotted talking to some podium girls and that was about it, except I saw our policewoman friend and no photo of BIG Mig with a Pez jersey.

Saw Heras lose the gold jersey and then started the long drive, needed to eat and was ripped off on the autopista for a cold sausage, soggy vegetables and chips mmmm! That’s the first week over and it looks like its going to be a battle between Menchov and Heras with Sastre and a few others trying here and there, more mountains to come and as always with La Vuelta more excitement and distractions!

Scott Bikes has the kick-ass demo set-up.

Pez-man Alastair Hamilton has graciously agreed to leave his comfy desk job at the PezCycling Spanish Bureau, and actually go to a race. Not that it took much convincing – considering his top assignment to photograph the beautiful girls of La Vuelta.

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