Picture of the Week

20 September 2022

Week 35: La Vuelta comes to Alicante

Filed under: — Administrator @ 06:05

The main event this week was the 10th stage of the Vuelta a España. It was a 31 km individual time trial from Elche to Alicante, on some of the very same roads which I cycle on weekends. So I took the day off to see and photograph the finish of the stage in the centre of Alicante. In some cases I could identify the cyclists and have indicated their names.

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There were quite a few people lined up near the finish on Plaza Luceros:
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In an individual time trial, the cyclists start 2 minutes apart and go all out, covering the 31 km distance at an average speed of 50-55 km/h. This is an intense effort, and I looked for the intensity in the faces of the riders:
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Nans Peters, France:
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Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, a real veteran, in his late 30s but still going strong:
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One of my favourite cyclists on the circuit, Julian Alaphilippe of France. Sadly, during the 11th stage the following day he crashed heavily and his Vuelta ended at the hospital:
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The crowd were very attentive:
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Another crowd favourite, Rigoberto Uran of Colombia:
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In-between cyclists, I looked around for details. I noticed that the motorcycle cops have their name and blood type on the back of their helmets:
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Finally, the man I was waiting for, as was much of the crowd. Alejandro Valverde of Spain, 42 years old, riding his last Vuelta. He finished 13th in the overall standings at the end of the 3-week race, an amazing feat considering that he is twice the age of the overall winner of the race, Remco Evenepoel of Belgium. Valverde is retiring from professional cycling after this season:
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Later in the week, I cycled to the Vía Verde, stopping at the village of Verdegás. As usual, I was on the lookout for the local cats. This orange specimen was in a stalking mode:
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Then he noticed me:
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Along the Vía Verde, a dried-out reservoir:
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One of the many small tunnels along what used to be a local railroad:
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Another reservoir, this one with water, albeit less than the normal level:
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In the evening, we went our for dinner with our neighbours, a Spanish-French couple who live in Switzerland but spend all their free time in their house here:
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The view from the restaurant of El Campello harbour:
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On Sunday morning, I went out early, and cycled south. I stopped briefly at the beach in Urbanova, still quite empty:
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A bit further on, I passed close to the perimeter of Alicante airport:
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In cycling from El Altet (where the airport is located) to the town Elche, I was on the very road on which the Vuelta time trial had been run earlier in the week:
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The southernmost point of my ride was the large fishing harbour of Santa Pola:
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I then rode north towards home along the coast, stopping at Urbanova once again. The beach was busier now:
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And that was the end of a week in which cycling played a big part.

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