Stage 9 of La Vuelta, the Tour of Spain, got underway in Campoamor this afternoon, Sunday, at just after a quarter past one with almost 220 riders, representing 22 teams, and all vying to take he red leaders jersey of the current race number one, Britain’s Chris Froome.
However for the riders the day got underway much earlier with teams relaxing on their team buses adjacent to the start point by mid-morning.
Following the team meetings, when the day’s strategy was hashed out, most cyclists then took about 1.5 hours to get kitted up, head over to the sign on caravan, talk to some fans, and get themselves mentally prepared for the stage.
Going into stage 9, heading north to Cumbre del Sol, close to Benitachell, Chris Froome (Team Sky) had tightened his grip on the leaders red jersey, with a show of strength during Saturday’s stage eight, opening up a 28 second gap on his nearest rival, Columbia’s Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott).
Prior to the race, as he disembarked from the team coach, he took pleasure in chatting to some of the hundred or so fans that had gathered around the Team Sky nerve centre. But he was then quickly on his way down to the start point adjacent to Campoamor beach.
And then down to business as the teams headed off up an early incline behind the pace car with Froome at the front, no doubt contemplating the 150km to Benitachell prior to Monday’s very welcome rest day.
La Vuelta then continues on Tuesday in the Murcia Province where stage 10 will take the cyclists from Caravaca to El Pozo. Briton Chris Froome, who recently won the Tour de France for the third time, is trying to become the first rider to do the double of La Vuelta and the Tour de France in the same year since Bernard Hinault back in 1973.
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