Archive for September 4th, 2009
Wheels of fire, legs of lycra in Los Cristianos

Saddles so sharp they could do you a mischief, and not a bell or saddlebag in sight. The 100 plus cyclists from 14 teams, came bombing down Funchal and into the heart of Los Cristianos this afternoon, to complete stage 3 of this years Vuelta Ciclista of Tenerife. Police had sealed off several roads but with little advance publicity, crowds were sparse, and drivers were irritated at having to move from their usual parking places.

I tried to guess the arrival time but made a schoolboy error, calculating how long it would take from the start point of Candelaria up on the east coast. A check of the 95.3 km route showed that they only hugged the coast until forsaking the TF 28 at San Isidro to make the uphill climb to San Miguel, and a downhill finish through Valle San Lorenzo and back on the TF 28 at the Guaza roundabout.

Los Cristianos centre was well snarled up by the time the peleton (pack) came in sight, there were no advance posters and the excellent free glossy colour guide book, only appeared at the Cultural Centre on the morning of the stage. The stage and podium were ready in the car park, converted for this weekends Virgen del Carmen fiesta but it seemed forever until the support vehicles arrived, screaming downhill with sirens blazing, followed by the lycra flash of the leaders, now I know why the pot holes have recently been filled in by the traffic lights.

Sweeping into the car park, sorry showground, the sweaty sportsmen got a good reception and grabbed cold drinks as the prize giving was prepared.In true Tour style, there were 7 different coloured jerseys to be awarded in various categories, bunches of flowers, and smiling sponsors, but no sign of champers, well there were still 2 more stages to go. The yellow jersey was retained from the previous day by Spains Jose Belda for the CCN Valencia team, something of a veteran at 34 but showing the others a clean pair of pedals.

Tomorrow (Saturday) the action switches to El Sauzal (noon) for the longest stage, 101 kms to Santiago del Teide on the west coast, and then the climax is on Sunday, split into 2 stages, from Santa Cruz (9am) to San Andres and back, followed by a 45 km round trip of La Laguna, leaving Camino de La Rua at 5pm and ending in Plaza del Cristo. Good luck to them all, and lets hope for no punctures.