03:30 alarm, shower, shave, jump in the van, Hughie Morgan on Radio Two, bus, plane, the two lad beside us are wasted on Magners and red vino already – happy holidays boys. Alicante, ice cold San Miguel – I almost forgave the airport prices.
Damn – It’s hot!
But there’s our boy Al to collect us and the air-con in the Megane works just fine.
Torrevieja, apparently aka “Costa Delle Yorkshire,” there are so many expats here – and venue for the opening nocturne TTT of La Vuelta 2019.
The big industry here is salt – yes, the stuff you put on your chips – and what they scatter on the road to melt the ice and rot your car.
The flamingos fish in the salt lagoons; the more salt in the water, the pinker they get.
There are huge piles of the stuff everywhere.
We find Race HQ and are soon in possession of the all-important credentials.
Time for lunch, 108 Euros for the langoustines? This isn’t the place…
Al takes us to a fave burger joint in the hills, our server is Belgian; we agree that Deceuninck are the boys on the flat but come those big mountains – not so much.
Back to Polop, I have a nap.
Dinner is in the hills, the views are stunning.
Aqua only for Ed, that burger is laying heavy…
* * *
La Vuelta 2019 – Stage One
Despite the best efforts of the donkeys and dogs who conversed well into the night, I slept well.
The forced march from Al’s up to town was worth it; spectacular views of the Leon Dormido and a few Euros buys you a café con leche and a LARGE Veterano up at the café which bears the same name as the huge rock.
Café con leche and a large Veterano – that’s a Spanish brandy, not for the faint hearted – as the local cycling club gathers for their Saturday morning run before the real heat of the day kicks in.
Walk back to Al’s, do that computer stuff and lunch at the car wash – nice,
And now we’re en route Torrevieja…
‘Weight of a Nation,’ the crowd round the Movistar bus is huge, there’s a roar, the masses parts and there he is, ‘Bala’ – champion of the world, Alejandro Valverde.
No smiles from ‘Bala,’ ‘Spain expects,’ the pressure on the Movistar guys is palapable.
Seventh on the day – not so many seasons ago they would have won this…