What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vuelta De Pez: Cafй, Toast And Cav!

Roadside Pez St.1: A leisurely breakfast was followed by lots of writing and looking at photos, this was the lull before the storm! Down at the start/finish area of the team time trial it was like a war scene, helicopters, running peopler, men with guns and that usual chaos, but it was great fun!

After my late night yesterday a long sleep would have been nice, but having breakfast and looking round a new place was too much for me, so off I went round the corner. At the back of the hotel there is the Cathedral, very nice, but next door is a Starbucks and across the road is a very old fashioned baker/cafй/bar. Easy decision; into the old place with its tiled floor, marble topped bar and tables and the legs of jamon hanging up behind the bar.

One side of the bar sells sweet cakes and chocolates, on the other side is where the coffee, alcohol and the savoury stuff is sold, great service and great food from the “Horno de San Buenaventura” I’m sure it doesn’t have Wi-Fi internet, but it has class and style.

Cafй con leche and toast with tomato, my favourite and a good price. Outside was a man selling lottery tickets and would shine your shoes, if he could find someone who wears shoes that you can polish – in this heat everyone is wearing sandles.

Some very old buildings around this area, DUH! I guess that’s why it’s called the “Casco Antiguo” it was getting hot and it was time I got over to the sala de prensa to write up last night’s teams presentation. On the way back, on the same road as the hotel, there was what I thought was a butcher, but going by the sign above the door it must sell horse meat, it shouldn’t be a surprise as the bullring is up the road and this butcher first opened in 1926 when more horses died in the ring than bulls. After doing a Google search turns out it was a shop that sells things for the horses to wear, we will leave the French and the Belgians to eating horses!

Work done at the lap-top so off for a snack, a siesta and then back to the sala de prensa for my goodies and write a little, can’t hang around as the roads are starting to close four hours before the race and I have to get parked up and see what’s going on…later.

Fast Forward To The Evening
As the start and finish were within a kilometre of each other there was the usual chaos which was made worse by the public being able to wander about between the teams busses. The teams were riding round the circuit in a continuous stream, so every lap they had to run the gauntlet of the fans, the people loved it, but the riders, team directors and the police were not so happy.

Readers in the U.S. are probably used to seeing Hummer type vehicles, but here they are very few around and this was the first time I had seen a police car like it with two motorbikes on a trailer behind, can’t see it getting round some of the narrow roads in the mountains though.

A bit of practice was needed for the girls who would be pushing the riders off and the riders didn’t mind. There was a stunt cyclist doing his tricks at the start, but the show was stolen by a girl dancing with a horse.

The girl was good, but I think the horse was better, it had to contend with her Flamenco dancing with much throwing up of arms and legs, most horses would have bolted and ran, the bloke on the horse’s back didn’t do much, but I guess he was just holding on!

The ribbon was cut by the mayor of Sevilla and the first team; Footon-Servetto lined up for the off, at this point Saxo Bank were still discussing who was doing what and where, Fabian Cancellara had pointed out that Saxo had World and Olympic TT champions in the team, but this was no guarantee of success and as it turned out they were split as the crossed the line.

The UCI were measuring up the TT bikes, photographing them and maybe looking for the “Bike Doping”. Garmin arrived a little late so there was a scramble for their mechanics at the last minute.

Mark Cavendish had finished his warm-up and looked very concentrated on the job in hand, this could be his chance to get that “RED” jersey as overall leader; this has been billed as a climbers Vuelta, so it was now or maybe never!

Ale-Jet must also have had the same idea, as usual he didn’t look to happy, but then he never does. His cool down on the home-trainer was a rather public affair until the area was roped off, more chaos!

HTC-Colombia had come in with the fastest time and Cavendish sat calmly playing with his phone waiting for Saxo Bank to come in, as they were the only team that might have ruined his day/night.

During a radio interview he said he wished the jersey was big enough for all nine riders as it had been a team effort. “No one in the team wants to be a star, we all want the team to win, better a star team that a team of stars!”

Saxo arrived, in pieces and the stage and lead was for HTC, and Cav would be in “RED”. He’d been sent a new pair of cycling shoes in gold by the suppliers, they had not realised that the jersey would be red this year, let’s see if he wears them any way.

On the podium the team winners were given two bottles of champagne, but they proved hard to open, Cav took over without problem, but then I guess he is more used to opening champagne on a podium than many riders.

Mark also had a problem with his flowers, he had in mind to throw them to a female photographer, but missed, luckily he had lots more flowers to come as he had won all the other jerseys and eventually they found their target. Much to her embarrassment it had not gone unnoticed by the others in the photographers’ line up.

Bed by 2 am, but it was worth it, a great day/night was had by all, well done La Vuelta.

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