Joey, KY, The Captain, Piffy, Pauly, The Mayor, KT, The Corbett, Shelley & Bernie
WE ARE BACK AND REPORTS TO COME.
Over 7,000 metres climbing in a few days – WTF was going on?
Topbike Vuelta Tour (2) Sept 1-7, 2011
Thursday, Sept 1
Us: Pick up Hotel Medium Cortez, Doctor Cortez 3, 28012 – Madrid +34 913 690 101 @9am
Once everyone has arrived, we’ll load the vans and transport them north to the rural mountainous location of Teverga (433k, 5h) in the Asturias region, where we will spend 4 nights. Once in Teverga we will assemble our bikes and roll out for an hour. There is no time pressure in Spain as nothing happens before 9 pm at night. Our only concern will be to watch today’s stage live on the table, as it is well west of us today, but turning towards us. We shall dine in-house with our hosts tonight. (Ride ‘easy’ for one to two hours)
Them: Stage 12 – Ponteareas – Pontevedra 160,0 km
Transition and “break” stage between the mountain stages of Galicia. The teams with sprinters will have to work during the whole stage to control breaks and have their own specialists contest the sprint on the streets of Pontevedra. The two category 3 mountain passes, Moscoso and Ponte Calderas, are the perfect setting for climbers looking to break in the first kilometers. This is the second time for both cities, Pontevedra and Ponteareas, on the route of the Tour of Spain. The first included a stage start in 1987 and the second, in 1980, a finish.
Friday, Sept 2
Us: Wind backs your watches as Spain wakes late, eats late, and sleeps late, even more so in the northern region. This is all the better for us, as it gives us all day to ride 110k to the ¾ point of today’s stage, Sesamo, which is at the base of the final of the day’s five KOMs. Whether you choose to go up to the KOM, will be up to you. Transport back to Teverga in the Top bike van. (Ride 110km+, hilly, with a final climb).
Them: stage 13 – Sarria – Ponferrada 150,0 km
La Vuelta 2011 enters the Los Ancares region for the first time in one of the most complicated stages of the whole edition. With an unprecedented start in the town of Sarria and a finish in Ponferrada, this will be the sixth time that the capital of El Bierzo hosts the race. With only 150 km, this stage is sure to impress everyone. Three category 3 mountain passes, two in the first thirty kilometers, will prepare the peloton for the two mammoth climbs of the day. Folgueriras of Aigas is shaping up as another of the great legends in the history of La Vuelta: the Puerto de Ancares mountain pass. After the summit there is a fast decline with some climbs, including the last category 3 mountain pass, Ocero, already known in the race, leaving 20 km to the finish line.
Saturday, September 3
Us: A little bit of luxury today, as we are faced with a few choice options. Puerto de San Lorenzo, today’s cat 1, penultimate, climb is just 15k up the road, from our door. Not forgetting that the race will pass by our hotel, while the finish is less than 50 km (including one final 23 k climb) from our hotel. So, take it easy and watch the race pass close by, take to the hills for 15k up San Lorenzo, or for those who wish, tackle the final 50 k to the stage mountaintop finish. Oh, the agony of choice! It will not be a day for taking any vehicles out (the surrounding mountain roads can’t handle much traffic) so it’s a ride-out, ride-in day. Dinner is in-house again tonight. (Ride? k). Or take it easy and wait for the race to pass close by.
Them: Stage 14 – Astorga La Farrapona – Lagos de Somiedo 173,2 km
Second unprecedented mountain top finish of the 66th edition of La Vuelta. After an easy first half of the stage, from the start in Astorga to the beginning of the first mountain climb, the second half looks very challenging with a category 2 mountain pass, la Ventana, and a category 1, San Lorenzo. Both are very tough, especially the decline, which will prepare the peloton for the climb to La Farrapona, this edition’s first finish in Asturias. The end of the stage is another long climb. The twenty kilometers of La Farrapona, although not very demanding except at the end, will make a dent in those still in the race. Another great opportunity for climbers.
Sunday, September 4
Sunday’s stage passes just 35ks from our digs, but continuing on just a little further (about 11k) takes us to the base of the final climb of today’s stage, the now infamous Angliru. Climbing it is like riding your bike with the brakes on, it just has to be experienced. While the girls attempting the climb may get a little assistance in the way of a push, by the helpful and enthusiastic Spanish fans, don’t count on them pushing you all the way to the top. (Ride 120k hilly, if you ride to the top of Angliru and return, but there’s always the Top bike bus today!)
Them: Stage 15 – Avilés – Anglirú 144,0 km
La Vuelta and Angliru. The legendary colossus in Asturias returns to La Vuelta after a two-year hiatus. After being included only four times, Alto de Angliru has become part of the history and legend of the race. The cyclists will arrive after two grueling days on the mountain, which will make the ramps even harder. The stage is much shorter than in 2008 and will include climbs to Tenebrero (category 2) and Cordal (category 1). The twisting but not excessively tough climb up to the category 1 mountain pass with giving second leaders a chance to be seen before beginning the ascent to Angliru.
Monday, September 5
Today is a rest day for the riders. The Top bike crew will use the day off to transport over to Mestas di Ardisana, where the ‘other’ Top bike riders will be staying, it’s 147k so while we may take the opportunity to ride some of the distance, after the past couple of days in the hills, riding the full distance may be out of the question. Here we will spend the next 2 nights, in another remote location, but just one small range from the Atlantic. Dinner up the hill tonight, in a rural restaurant, where we can check the menu for mountain goats!
Tuesday, September 6
Today’s stage runs well south of us, so the Top bike riders will be looking for a loop that sweeps out of the mountains, past the Atlantic, and back over the range to Mestas di Ardisana, probably just 60k, but with enough coffee stops we can make it last as long as we want, maybe even enjoy lunch on the coast. We’ll just make sure we’re home in time to catch the end of today’s stage live on the table. Dinner in the hills, once again in a rural restaurant (Ride 4- 5 hours).
Them: Stage 16 – Villa Romana La Olmeda (Palencia) – Haro 180,0 km
After a well-deserved rest day and leaving the mountains of Asturias behind, a completely flat new transition day will ensure the sprinters move from the back of the pack to the front and contest for the finish line in Haro. This is the second time in the history of the race that this La Rioja town hosts a stage finish. This first was in 1966 when Francisco Gabica took his first win. Villa Romana La Olmeda, in Pedrosa de la Vega (Palencia), one of the most important archaeological sites from Roman times, will receive the cyclists who have endured two tough weeks of competition since the start in Benidorm.
Wednesday, September 7
This is our final day, so we’ll get the legs ticking over for a bit of a spin before we jump in the car and make our way back to Madrid (535k, 6h) for the end of the tour, and drop off at our hotel in Madrid.
Them: Stage 17 – Faustino V – Peña Cabarga 212,5 km
Bodegas Faustino, in the Alava region of La Rioja, will mark the start of the stage that last year sealed the fate of Igor Anton in La Vuelta when a fall at the start of the climb to Cabarga Peña made him drop out of the race. The winding route of the stage, with a single category 3 mountain pass in the first half, may lead to a dangerous breakaway that the teams that are already taking positions for the general classification will have to watch for. The second half is more complicated with two mountain passes, Sía and Alisa. In addition, the Peña Cabarga finish will force cyclists to save some energy, since the final climb is about six kilometers and has an average gradient of nearly 10%, with ramps that reach as high as 18%.
Time for packing up, farewells, and making our way to our next travel connections, unless you have chosen to stay on for a couple of days to explore Madrid in a bit more depth.
TOP BIKES 2011 LA VUELTA 2 TOUR INCLUDES
All transport in the Top bike air-conditioned mini-bus from Madrid to Madrid for you, your bike, and one bag.
6 nights accommodation: 2 Locations, 4 nights Teverga, 2 nights Llanes (twin share)
ALL breakfasts and dinners
Full backup vehicle and mechanical support on every ride
A six-piece Top bike cycle clothing Kit: 2 bib and brace nicks, 1 short sleeve jersey, 1 long sleeve jersey, 1 winter thermal top, 1 vest
Energy bars and carbohydrate drink powder
Experienced cycling guides
Detailed maps of all ride routes
Airport Transfers in the Top bike Van
Tips, coaching if requested
Non-cyclists also catered for
All particular dietary requests are catered for, just let us know
NB: The itinerary above is to be used as a guide only, as Top bike Tours are well known for making use of all (and creating some extra) opportunities, expect that variations from the above can happen at any time.