With hardly a fat-bottomed girl in sight, the bicycle races came east of Málaga yesterday, for the Vuelta Ciclista a Andalucía – one of Spain’s biggest cycling events of the year.
The 60th Ruta del Sol takes place between February 19th and 23rd, with the peloton travelling through eight Andalucían provinces, covering 733.7 kilometres across five stages.
Think of it as a mini-version of the better-known Tour de France or the Vuelta a España.
After the Prologue in Almeria further east along the coast on the 19th, the first stage started yesterday in Vélez-Málaga at 11am. The day’s racing (the second longest at 187km) culminated in Jaén at the Castillo de Santa Catalina, passing through Zafarraya and Alhama de Granada along the way.
You’ll remember I wrote about the old railway line at Zafarraya recently, and this area seemed like a good place to view the race as there is a steep climb for the riders within the first hour of the race.
We positioned ourselves at about 700m elevation with a splendid view of the spectacular U-shaped Zafarraya Pass, as well as a great view of the series of bends below, along which the peleton would travel.
The weather was glorious, with hardly a cloud to interrupt the blue sky. The sun shone and you can see the almond trees in blossom nearby and the surrounding mountains to complete a perfect picture.
There was plenty of activity with the passing of Guardia Civil vans and motor-cyclists, as well as lots of pleasure cyclists (if you can call it a pleasure, cycling so far uphill!) vying for the best position to see their heroes.
We didn’t have long to wait before the leading group of riders came into view.
Click on any of the images to get a better view.
There were nineteen teams, each with seven riders taking part, including Team Sky led by Sir Bradley Wiggins, former Tour de France winner, who sadly I never spotted.
All was not lost though, with all that testosterone wafting by in the form of young men wearing tight lycra!
So, within a couple of minutes of first spotting them in the distance, the peleton of La Vuelta Cyclista a Andalucía had passed by.
They were barely out of breath. No huffing and puffing for these guys. OH NO!
Bringing up the rear came the various support vehicles carrying spare parts and bicycles with the customary ambulance in case of medical support.
If you’d like more information about the race and route, please visit:http://www.vueltaandalucia.es/
On your marks, get set, GO!!!!!!!