On Sunday, La Vuelta cycle race is starting the stage in Biescas. It’s a gruelling days riding with the route heading north up the Valle de Tena over the Portalet pass into France and then tackling both the Col d’Aubisque and Col du Tourmalet. I’ve done the Col d’Aubisque a couple of times and the thought of summiting this super steep climb and then tackling the even steeper Tourmalet doesn’t bear thinking about!
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La Vuelta is the Spanish version of the Tour de France and is considered the third most important cycling event in the calendar after the Tour and the Giro d’Italia. La Vuelta has passed through Biescas a couple of times in the last ten years but this is the first time a stage will start from here. The last time the race passed through was, I think, 2016 and it ended up being a pivotal day with Team Sky for once getting caught sleeping and Froome losing a few minutes on Quintana and the other race leaders. The photo above shows the riders go right past the Hike Pyrenees office!
On Saturday the race is also in the area, with the stage starting in Huesca, passing through Ainsa and finishing in Sabiñanigo which is just south of Biescas. Half of this route I have cycled loads of times and it’s great to see the pro’s eating up the climbs that I spend ages struggling up!
I’ve seen both the Tour de France and La Vuelta several times but always in the middle of a stage, never a start or the finish.
In normal times I’d be super excited to see the race and would go and see the finish in Sabiñanigo as well as the start in Biescas on Sunday. Froome is riding his first grand tour after his horrific accident and I’d love to shout a bit of support for him and wish him and the other riders well. This year, with covid sadly on the rise in Europe once again and new restrictions in Spain and many other places, I’ll be keeping my distance. Hopefully, if not many people are around, I’ll go and see the start of the race on Sunday – it’s only a couple of minutes walk from my house, but it won’t be the same atmosphere as it should be. Such a shame as it should be one of the biggest weekends of the year for the village and a great chance to showcase the valley to all the people watching on TV.
La Vuelta is shown in Europe on Eurosport – look out for me and the kids if you tune in on Sunday!
Predicting what’s going to happen from one day to the next is difficult in this strange year of 2020 and La Vuelta route isn’t any different! I wrote this article yesterday morning and yesterday afternoon the route was changed to avoid crossing the border into France with all the covid concerns at the moment.
The new route for Sunday will still start in Biescas, but head south to Sabiñanigo, across to Fiscal via Petralba, up to Broto and then over the col of Cotefablo back to Biescas where there will be an intermediate sprint. This is essentially doing the route of the Treparriscos bike race I do each year in reverse. The race then heads north up the Valle de Tena to end at the ski station of Formigal.
I expect there will be a few riders happy not to be tackling the twin challenge of Aubisque and Tourmalet!
These route now follows my regular cycling routes so it will be great to see the pros out on the ‘my’ roads.