GreenEDGE Travel recently took to the streets of Spain, to witness the final week of La Vuelta a Espana live and get behind the team in their valiant fight for stage success.
The seven day tour, hosted by former GreenEDGE team member, Stuart O’Grady, proved a huge success, from the trip’s day one team ‘meet and greet’, to the spectacular final showdown in the heart of Madrid.
Our guests well and truly hit the ground running on arrival to Spain, checking in to their accommodation in the history-rich Spanish city of Segovia, before enjoying a leisurely warm-up ride ahead of the evening’s activities, meeting the team on their well earned rest day.
Here, Sport Director, Julian Dean enlightened guests with a tour of the bus, followed by a Q and A with the riders, sharing some fantastic insights into the race and team operations. Guests then had the unique opportunity to chat with the team in a relaxed environment, before rounding out the evening superbly with dinner at the hotel, joined by Julian.
Come day two, it was time to take a step into the race at the stage 17 start in Aranda de Duero. Here, the perfect platform for guests to explore the start area, catch a glimpse of our ‘pre-race’ routines and wish the riders well, ahead of a wind-prominent stage ahead.
Following the excitement of the stage depart, guests were off for their own ride adventure along the outskirts of the stunning vineyard-dotted, undulating roads of Aranda de Duero. The challenging conditions had riders glued to the wheel of tour host, Stuart O’Grady, eventually completing the ride exhausted, yet elated and ready for an afternoon of deserved wine tasting and tapas at boutique local winery, Dominio de Cair, owned by the famous Luis Cañas.
Next up, it was time for guests to grasp a real taste of mountain madness and the incredibly lively atmosphere the mountain stages never cease to deliver at the Vuelta. First up, riders battled over the testing slopes of Puerto de Navacerrada, in time to see the race splinter to pieces over the other side, and support the team in full force as they crested its summit, pain-faced.
Meanwhile, our spectating contingent joined the team in the support car for the day. A special experience that had them placed in the heart of the action at numerous feed zones throughout the stage, witnessing firsthand what goes on behind the scenes on race day.
The group went on to reconnect at the finish in Becerril de la Sierra to see what was a thrilling battle for Stage 18 honours, placed a mere 100m from the line. They then had the opportunity to chat with some of our riders to hear all the inside scoop on yet another incredibly demanding stage at La Vuelta.
The following day, the GreenEDGE Travel team were up bright and early, on route to Stage 19, where they would be tackling the final run into the unique medieval city of Toledo. Rain, wind and rolling terrain, had riders fighting hard to the finish – a daring cobbled climb into the centre, the cherry on top to what was a testing morning out on the bike. Appreciation levels for the professionals, then only strengthened when it came to relaxing downtown over a typical Spanish ‘menu del dia’ while watching the drama-filled stage unfold and the sheer speed it was raced at. They then took to the streets of the technical finish, joining thick crowds of like-minded, excited fans to support the team in their final dash to the line.
Come the penultimate stage, GreenEDGE Travel riders were in for one last roaring fight up the Category 1, Puerto de Pena Negra, along the mountain-dominated stage 20 route. Brutal conditions, deemed it no easy feat, however all eventually arrived to its summit, shattered, yet incredibly satisfied – another bucket list climb conquered. Post ride, the afternoon was spent at the final sprint point of the day, watching the stage action from the warmth of a local restaurant, over typical Spanish cuisine and a few deserved beverages, while the riders heroically continued to click down the final vertical metres of this year’s relentless Vuelta in grim settings.
An action-packed week at La Vuelta supporting the team, came to an end as our guests hit the Spanish capital of Madrid to see the race come to a spectacular close from an incredible rooftop viewing location on-course. They then rounded out the tour on a high with a toast to the team post-stage to congratulate them on their efforts, followed by a final farewell group dinner to cheers to an incredible week together experiencing the best of La Vuelta’s final week, backing Mitchelton-SCOTT.
A word from tour host, Stuart O’Grady:
“What a way to finish off the year with GreenEDGE Travel at the Vuelta! It really was one of the best cycling tours I’ve been a part of, and a refreshing change to the incredibly addictive but busy Tour De France. We enjoyed a nice mix of rides, food & wine, roadside race viewing and finish line buzz, while taking in some of Spains great attractions and warm culture along the way. To top, the team were so welcoming throughout the week and made a very memorable occasion for our guests.
For those wanting a very typically Spanish and a little bit more of a “tranquilo” tour, get on board for next year – I honestly cant wait”!
Want to join La Vuelta a Espana madness in 2020? Pre-registration is now open – secure your place with a risk-free booking deposit, HERE to ensure you have a spot on tour. We pride ourselves on intimate group sizes, so places are strictly limited!
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