Category: Cycling

From Viegu back to Santa Eulalia de Oscos, and on to Quintans – More Vuelta!

Shortly after the race passed our nice little spot in Viegu we got going north towards the coast, stopping at an aire not far from the town of Ribadesella.  That’s the town that’s made headlines recently for it’s tongue-in-cheek response to criticism from tourists that had complained about the noise from roosters and church bells, etc.

We stopped in Gijon to re-stock on food, then continued straight west on the motorway until just before Ribadeo where we turned south along the route for the next day’s stage.

We followed the route to the town of A Fonsagrada, where we stopped so Colin could get some salve for his insect bites.  I haven’t been bitten at all, but they seem to really go for him!

Backtracking to the village of Santa Eulalia de Oscos we once again took advantage of the aire.  The race goes by on the road below, although it doesn’t actually go thru the village.

After a lovely glass of rioja we had a nice early night – there are only two other vans this time, as opposed to being almost full two weeks ago.

Early the next morning we followed the route several miles on and picked a nice wide spot to park and watch from.

There was a very large breakaway that arrived at 1:49…

…with the peloton, led by Jumbo Visma – with current overall leader Primoz Roglic – only two minutes behind (love his blue shoes!)…

…and team Ineos and Bernal not far back.

We once again saw our ‘friend’ the photographer who stopped right at our spot to take some photos.

We’ve met him several times now, including the Tour of Burgos three years ago and the world’s in Harrogate two years ago.  He liked the book I was reading that I’d set near my chair and commented on it.

Several minutes later, as usual, were the sprinters and others, including Jacobsen and several of his protective Quickstep team members.

After taking down the flags we had a somewhat leisurely drive back past Santiago and a bit south to the town of Padron – it’s the starting point for Sunday’s final stage that is an Individual Time Trial.  We know we’re not going to watch from Padron, but it has an aire that was pretty easy to find.

We actually didn’t really care for the site – it’s right across from a canal, and also right on one of the many Camino routes.  In fact there’s a marker showing that it’s at km 26,770 of the trail – not sure where they started counting from – China, maybe? Or, perhaps, as Colin reminded me, they use the comma and the decimal backwards here, and it more likely means 26.77 km to go to Santiago – maybe?? Hahaha.

The problem with the site is that it’s surrounded on two sides by large apartment blocks, and since it was Friday night there was a lot of activity, including drunken shouting and verbal altercations from some of the suites.

Leaving as early as possible the next morning we headed out on the route, looking for a spot somewhere on the one large climb of the finale on Sunday.  We passed a spot that Colin liked but I wanted to press on and see what was ahead – we ended up going another 15 km or so before turning around and parking in the first spot.

We were eventually joined by another campervan, and many more cruised up and down the road looking for places.

Vuelta from Viegu

We left our lovely aire and made our way north back to Asturias.

Along the way we passed thru some beautiful countryside that reminded me a lot of home.  Not far from the border there’s a reservoir/lake and the water’s so low that cattle are grazing on lands that used to be underwater.

There’s a pullout just before the town of Oseja de Sajambre and it has a trail down to a platform with wonderful views of the deep valley and surrounding mountains.

We left the main road shortly after entering Asturias and headed a few km west to the village of Viego – or Viegu, depending on what signs you look at.

We’d passed a couple of possible parking spots for the race tomorrow before we got to the village but continued on, stopping at a cafe/bar/restaurant for a coffee and to discuss our plan.

We quickly decided to stay where we were rather than continue up to the summit.  The cafe served food and good wine – why leave?

We had a nice fairly flat parking space right in front – we did move a bit to allow more customers to park but were assured by the waiter that we could stay overnight.  We promised to eat and drink there – he spoke very good english, and is also a cycling fan.

We had some tapas for lunch and got to watch the last bit of the day’s race on the tv inside.

We went for a short walk a bit further up the road – it’s very twisty and quite steep in spots so there’ll be plenty of good places to watch and shoot from.

There are several large dogs that roam around and aren’t on leads.  They don’t seem to be aggressive, but Mo and Henry bark at them anyway.

We’ve seen quite a few campervans going up the road, only to come back down again a short while later.  A couple of large ones came back to the village and we had fun watching them trying to squish into places to park.

Two boys carried a small soccer net to the square and a bunch of the local kids were playing when some slightly older ones arrived with brooms and started clearing the ground.

They did a very good job in a very short time.

A steady stream of vehicles went up and down the road the next morning, all hoping for a decent place to park.

As the morning progressed our little cafe got busier and busier and it seemed like the whole village gathered along the roadside.

The campervan next to us has a tiny dog we refer to as ‘rat dog’ and their friend that was parked down the road a bit has a fluffy little shi tzu.

We ended up parking the lawn chairs right behind the campervan to take our photos from.

The caravan passed by and I almost missed it – it’s nothing like the one for the Tour.

The first riders appeared just before 2:20, with several QuickStep riders protecting their green jersey holder Jacobsen only four minutes back.  It’s so, so good to see Jacobsen doing well again when only about a year ago he was in an induced coma from crash injuries.

About half an hour after the first pass it just started to pour…

…and pour…

One of the local ladies and her family were all wearing white t-shirts with ‘Viegu’ in black – I’m now the proud owner of one and put it on immediately.

The second pass of the race arrived just over an hour after the first – the rain had slacked a bit by then – Bernal and Roglic were alone in the lead by a few seconds.

The group was much more spread out this time taking over 15 minutes to pass us.  As soon as they were by we scooted inside the cafe to watch the last hour on one of their two tv’s.

It was a thrilling finish up the dreaded Covadonga with Roglic and Bernal staying out in front and Roglic finally getting away and putting over a minute into everyone else – very dominating and exciting ride!

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 5

Another excellent sleep at another lovely aire – Spain has this down!

The drive to our spot to watch the final stage was not far, and we were the first ones there.  There’s a fairly large area right before the summit of the second climb of the day and we had our choice of spots.

We’re right beside a memorial of some sort – beautiful fresh flowers, some inside a heart-shaped rock formation.

Not long after we arrived the fellows came along to paint the summit line.

Slowly but surely more cars arrived, including several team cars.  The one that pulled in right beside us was Ineos, and they were friendly and both spoke very good english.  Without even having to ask they offered us each a bidon – Yates’s!  They set about loading their rider’s musettes with bottles and power bars, etc. 

At one point a car pulled in and the driver got our and added two more lovely floral arrangements to the memorial.  A while later a couple of the cars had to shuffle around to let two cars through and up the road – it wasn’t so much a pullout as it was a very wide entrance to a side road and the other cars were, in fact, blocking it.

A breakaway of six arrived about five minutes before the peloton.

Once again they passed as one large group, with only a few stragglers.  The team cars in our pullout were very accommodating – I asked the Astana guy for a bidon and he gave me a full musette.  And Colin got an EF bidon thrown by a rider.

Since we hadn’t put any flags up it was quick and easy to get on our way.  We drove generally west to Ampudia, just north of Valladolid to find yet another lovely aire for the night.

There was some sort of outdoor opera happening in the town but we were too tired to go down and investigate, opting instead to just have dinner and an early night.

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 4

The teenagers playing basketball next to us last night knocked off when darkness fell, although we could hear other children playing nearby until quite late.  It didn’t keep me from sleeping and I had another very good night.

The next morning we had a bit of a time finding a spot to watch the day’s stage from – we took, as I call it, the ‘scenic route’, passing through almost every village on the day’s route before coming to a decision in the town of Caleruega.

We parked right next to the road under some lovely large trees.

As we had a bit of a wait we took the doggies up the hill for a walk about the town – once again El Cid is a big figure in the area.

The town is quite nice and we eventually found a little bar to sit at for a bit with a chilled beverage.

By the time we returned to the campervan locals were starting to show up to watch the race – we’re at a very sharp corner and with the trees for shade it seems a popular spot.

Even some professional moto-photogs showed up – one even joined me on the stone wall I’d chosen as a my watching place.

As I up higher I could see further around the corner and down the road when the first lone rider came – he was from the local Burgos team which made the crowd very happy.

The peloton was only about a minute behind, and arrived in one bunch, rounding the corner at an incredible speed.

The entire group passed in less than a minute and it was over – still worth the wait, though.

We parked for the night at yet another aire – these places in Spain are great.  This one is also next to tennis courts, an immaculately kept soccer field, swimming pool and picnic area.

In the evening Colin was sitting outside with the dogs when a large bunch of local kids on bikes came up and almost swarmed him.  But they weren’t nasty – just the opposite – they were very interested in the dogs, and where we were from, etc.  One of the older boys acted as interpreter and they asked all sorts of questions.  Then they played in the tennis area for a bit and left abruptly after a relatively short time on their bikes.