What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vuelta ’07: Back Door PEZ

After yesterday’s long, very long day I slept like a baby… a baby that lives next to a Night Club called Lolitas. I hadn’t seen it when I booked in to the Hostal Ancla Dorada, if I had I would have gone down to investigate, for journalistic reasons obviously! After I had closed the window there was no disturbance and it was back to sleep.

It looks like a quiet doorway… and it is during the day…

Stage 1 started at the bottom of the street from the Hostal, so a bit of a lie in and then down for breakfast which consisted of cafй con leche, croissant and a tortilla with some nice fresh bread. At races it’s always better to eat a good meal early in the day because you never know what might happen later and there either isn’t the time for eating or there isn’t any free food at the finish village…! Today there was more food and drink on offer than I could have dreamt of, but we will come to that later.

The breakfast of champion journos everywhere.

A short stroll down to the Royal Yacht Club and it was all happening, music, food, police everywhere, chaos (as all Spanish races are) and Podium Girls, yes the King of Daily Distractions is back, don’t worry lads you will see them soon!

Here in Spain we have different kinds of Law Enforcement Officers and the highest ones are the Guardia Civil, they wear green and when they say jump you ask: “how high, sir?” So it was nice to see them all wanting their photos taken with the babes, none were safe, I had one keen Officer ask me to take his photo with every woman that passed, he wasn’t too pleased when I asked if he wanted me to send them on to his wife?

When the local authorities want their pic taken with beautiful girls, it’s best to oblige them.

These fine folks provide cool clothing for all Vuelta staffers.

Nice surprise was to bump into Agata and Pierre of Pietro y Ducos, they are the suppliers of all the really cool casual clothing for La Vuelta staff and have posh clothes shops, this year they are also working in conjunction with Nono Villa clothing. Three years ago they drove me round the prologue in Granada in their BMW, Pierre’s driving was very memorable. They couldn’t give me a lift this year, but they did give me a nice Polo Shirt, thanks.

A double dose of Aussie Davis-es.

Food was eaten, women were photographed, and drink was drunk, so I thought I had better take a look at this bike race thing. I spotted an Australian/Davis convention as Scott Davis (T-Mobile) and Allan Davis (Discovery Channel) were chewing the fat before the start. The sign on this year is sponsored by Cantina Mariachi, which is a chain of Mexican Restaurants, so I’m looking forward to trying some of their offerings, but as usual the queue was too big.

Mexican restaurants in Spain… wonder how that’ll go over….

My big job of the day was to try to get in a car for some of the race, Fabian Jeker had no room, he said I could get a lift to the finish in another car, which was only about 5 kilometers away, but it would save me getting the bus or walking. In I jumped with Mauricio (Mauri) Rodrigues Quiroga, that’s when things took a turn for the better, he had to give two VIP’s a run round the first big lap and then to the finish and I had the front seat.

Here’s Mauri – driving the VIPs, and us.

Mauri works for Vuelta organizers, Unipublic, full time and lives in Madrid. Unlike most of the people who work on the race he was never a bike rider, but always a fan, a man after my own heart, he remarked on how many good looking women their are in Vigo, driving back to the finish on the motorway he was driving at well over the speed limit on open roads, well he had been doing this all day on closed race roads, his comment made sense “all the police are at the race so…” fair enough!

If there’s one thing the Spanish do well… it’s paella.

So it was back to the finish to see the race and sample some more food, this time I accompanied the VIP’s into the enclosed area to see how the others live and yes they live very well. They usual scrum at the finish for the photographers and that was the first day over, the race part anyway. It’s now 10pm and time to go into town to see what’s happening in Vigo on a Saturday night and sample the local delicacies of any kind!

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