Now I know how those Taliban guys felt when the CIA tortured them by depriving them of sleep and playing Ted Nugent at pain threshold decibels.
I collapsed into bed at midnight only to be awakened at 02:00 am by the repetitive beats from the foam party at the next village, which is two kilometres away.
Such is life during Fiesta Season in Spain.
Today’s stage starts in Benidorm, not beside the sea but on the north side of town, away from the football strip clad, burnt red, stag and hen madness and the karaoke bars.
There was the usual traffic chaos en route the start but we managed 20 minutes snapping before we had to bolt back to the car.
Former Vuelta star, Purito Rodriguez was still looking sharp and earning his keep, drawing the jersey raffle numbers.
Whilst EF’s Tour de Suisse king of the mountains, Hugh Carthy was looking relaxed, content with the team’s fourth place in the team time trial.
As usual, the riders’ flight path to the sign on from the busses wasn’t too clear and the boys had to resort to stairs; Sam Bennett does a bit of that ‘X’ stuff.
The stairs well ‘all good’ for the autograph hunters, though.
Whilst some riders had to resort to ‘louping the fence’ to get to the sign on.
All good for snappers like us.
Nairo Quintana was all smiles, relaxed and happy to sign autographs, jerseys and race guides.
Classification leaders like Jacob Fuglsang were much in demand.
Time to vamos; but we’re trapped behind the barriers – a few smiles for the cop, get the guy to move his dog and we’re away…
Puerto de Confrides [20.6 K @ 3.6%], we’re 25 K in to the stage, park up – we don’t have to wait long, a Lotto and a Burgos – little gears, comfortable.
Messrs. Armee and Madrazo; a good day for the latter with the king of the mountains jersey to hang over the bedroom chair tonight – a big deal for a small team like Burgos.
There’s a gap and a Caja Rural, Lastra with a Katusha, Smit in tow; no surprise to see Burgos and Caja Rural up the road – them pro Conti teams have to justify being on the race.
Astana lead the peloton, no panic, line astern, simply riding tempo and keeping things in hand; whilst Lopez won’t use his team up to defend, if they can keep the jersey without going too deep then that’s cool.
Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana are well up the peloton, their Movistar henchmen in close attendance.
Hugh Carthy dumps a nice EF musette at my feet – ‘cheers, my boy.’
It has a Rapha logo on it, Dave won’t be happy with that.
I also collect another three bidons – Marlene will be pleased…
The [Super] man in red is half way down the bunch, looking like he’s coming back from the team car.
Meanwhile Fuglsang in the king of the mountains jersey is off the back.
I had him down as a race fave – wrong again…
Not a fun day for big former British Champion, Ian Stannard but he got back and finished in the group @ 9:51.