A race going through the grieving process

Sport 19 August, 2017

Photo: Jame Reina Agence France-Presse
The Spanish Alberto Contador, 34 years old, participated in his last race before retirement.

The Vuelta (19 August-10 September), leaves Saturday for the first time in France, in an atmosphere leaded by the terrorist attacks that have bloodied the Spain and relegated to the second plan, the royal assortment this in the arena in Nîmes.


In tribute to the victims of these attacks are committed by jihadists, who have made at least 14 dead and over hundred injured in Catalonia, Barcelona and Cambrils, a minute’s silence preceded the official presentation of the teams.


Gathered on a podium, in front of a large screen displaying a black ribbon, the leaders of the formations involved have celebrated mine serious, the four riders Catalan squad in front of them. “It is a terrible blow. This war, we will win all states. We all carry this scar and together we will overcome “, said the general director of the race, Javier Guillen, thanking France for its ” solidarity.”


These terrorist acts increase the priority given to safety, if difficult to ensure on a bicycle race, followed by thousands of people at the edge of the roads.


The organization said Friday, working with the authorities to ensure the protection of the public and of the riders. “Extraordinary measures” have already been adopted in Andorra for the 3rd and 4th stages on Monday and Tuesday, with strengthened controls at the borders of the principality of monaco, wedged between France and Spain, the andorran government.


In this atmosphere, the positive control in the growth hormone of the co-leader of BMC, the Spanish Samuel Sanchez, second in the 2010 Tour, has not helped to boost the morale of the environment.


After Lisbon in 1997 and Assen in the netherlands in 2009, it is only the third time that the Vuelta runs out of Spain, compared with 12 departures outside of Italy for the Giro d’italia and 22 out of France for the Tour de France. And for its first in France, the Vuelta has chosen the antique décor of Nîmes : the riders will spend Saturday in the famous roman arena.


Tea royal


Often considered the poor relation of the three Grand Tours, the Vuelta brings together this year a plateau royal, deprived, however, of the title, the Colombian Nairo Quintana, who has raced the Giro and the Tour.


Led by the four-time winner of the Tour de France, Briton Chris Froome (Sky), who share great favorite, the platoon will count in its ranks the Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain), winner of the Vuelta 2010. Not to mention the “Gunslinger” Alberto Contador (Trek), three-time winner of the event (2008, 2012, 2014), determined to make a last push before you hang up permanently on the bike in 34 years.