The Big Road Race – Men’s Elite for World Title

Got up super-early and were on our way by 6:30 to pick out our spot for the race. We went up the circuit from the opposite side so we could pick the best spot on the way down, which would be the way up for the race. There are quite a few large areas to park – most of them seem to be run by locals who charge a small fee for the use of their field. But there are quite a few spots with port-a-potties and other places with beverage and food tents.
We decided on a spot just outside the boundaries of the town of Aldrans, just over ⅓ of the way up the climb that the racers will pass by six times. We found a great spot that we backed into so the flags will be right above the road.
It was still only a few degrees above zero and the sun hadn’t quite cleared the mountain above so it was incredibly cold – I had about six layers of clothes on, including my merino wool sweater and a fleecy pullover of Colin’s. All I really needed after that was a hat, scarf and mittens, but a black blankie had to do instead.

We setup the table and chairs and got the water started for the tea. At one point Colin went down the road to look around and I checked the water – it didn’t look like the flame was on and I thought the canister was perhaps empty. I put the kettle back on the burner and turned around and then I heard a sound – they whole thing had fallen over, and the canister wasn’t actually empty but was still burning away. If it had been hot and dry out it could have started a fire! And almost all of the water spilled out of the kettle so I had to refill it and start the boiling process all over again.

Finally we got a pot of tea steeping, and had a bit of food to eat. We were really glad we got such an early start – the field we chose filled up pretty quickly and cars and bikes came up the road by the hundreds. The moment the sun cleared the mountain above us it got instantly warmer and the layering process was reversed.
I took a walk down a ways to find a clean port-a-potty – there was a space around the corner below us that had a large tent setup with food and drinks, as well as a pile of tables and chairs, and a large tv screen. Their biffies were very clean and had toilet paper and water for washing – pretty spiffy biffy!
Back at our spot more and more folks kept coming – they finally put a rope up to stop more from trying to come in.
The first riders appeared around 12:12 – a breakaway of about 10 or 12, including a Cdn – Robert Britton.
The peloton at that time was about 17 minutes behind. Each time they came around again the breakaway was smaller, and the peloton was closer.
By the third time around Peter Sagan, the world champion for the last three years, gave up and packed it in. After that it was a process of reigning in the breakaway and establishing a position.
I got some great photos – Cdn Michael Woods…
Irish rider Daniel Martin…
Local dinasaur…

1733BF33-4FB3-410E-8ACD-6D5204EBFCD5Michael Woods and Alejandro Valverde…
Vincenzo Nibali…
Tom Domoulin and Nairo Quintana…
Fans high….and low…

After the race had passed for the sixth and final time we went to a campervan a few spots up from us and watched the end of the race on their tv. Spaniard Valverde, Frenchman Bardet and Cdn Michael Woods were in the lead, with Dutchman Domoulin trying to catch them, which he did. As they approached the finish it was a four-man sprint, with Valverde taking off first – the others were unable to catch him, although it was so close! Bardet came second and Woods came third, although neither one of them at the time seemed that happy to be on the podium since they weren’t on the top step. Valverde, on the other hand, was ecstatic, having come in second in the World’s twice before, and third four times.
The highland cows on the way home seemed just as unimpressed as the goats the other day were.

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