Memory Corp

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

59th Vuelta a España - GT

Spain, September 4-26, 2004

Click for larger image
Scott Sunderland
Photo: © Memory Corp

Scott Sunderland's Vuelta Diary

Cyclingnews' longest contributing diarist Scott Sunderland is taking part in his fourth Vuelta a España in 2004 as part of the versatile Alessio-Bianchi team. Scott's role will be to help Pietro Caucchioli as well as having opportunities for stage wins. Once again, he'll be providing his highly experienced viewpoint on the Vuelta, its riders and anything else.

Index of 2004 updates

The wind in Spain...

Stage 2 - September 5: León - Burgos, 207 km

Hi all,

Well wasn't today fun!

This little "holiday" in Spain started off to everyone's liking, a sort of laid-back-Aussie-love-for-leisure type of day. What better to do on a sunny Sunday than going for a ride on your bike at a comfy pace? It was truly enjoyable.

It turned out to be a great summer's day, actually. A lot warmer than the weather people had anticipated. I'm starting to think they're as accurate down here in Spain as what they are in Belgium. Expect the opposite of what they predict. I was told today's weather wouldn't be that flash, with temperatures not reaching higher than 21°c and cool winds. The next thing I knew, I was riding in 31°c, with a Craft t-shirt underneath my jersey. You can imagine it was getting pretty damn hot as the stage went on, sweating like a pig, my feet burning in my new cycling shoes; dry as a chip and as happy as a bastard on Father's Day - which reminds me, happy Father's Day dad!

The peloton took it really easy in the first 30km, but then those cross- and headwinds put the boot in the bunch and things got nervous. As we came closer to the feeding zone, the parcours went off the big wide roads we had been on and conveniently took us over some narrow, old roads. Up and down, over a small concrete bridge, up a hill, down the hill and through this tiny town with roads suitable for horse and carriage.

Just as we got back onto the big open roads, some Spanish dude from the Cofidis team launched this crazy attack. Of we went, at 75km/h, through the feeding zone! The soigneurs just stood there, on the right side of the road, musettes held up high in the air and we flew past, about 10 cm from the gutter on the left hand side of the road; single file, giving it full stick! Turns out the Cofidis rider was a local. Good timing mate!

I moved up to the front and as the wind was favourable at that moment, I attacked, thinking I'd surely get some company. But nope, no-one followed. I went for it for a couple of kms but then got a strong headwind again. I thought "bugger this", I sat up and waited for the peloton. It was good fun though, as long as it lasted.

The rest of the day doesn't get any better really. I was feeling pretty shabby in the last 25km. I drifted back too far and as we hit some more crosswinds another split happened. It didn't really worry me anymore at that time; GC is not what I'm here for and I'm feeling OK but not 100% so I'll just roll with the punches for now.

Coming back to the hotel I wasn't feeling hungry, although the last meal I had was at 9 o'clock this morning. Dinner wasn't served until 9 pm, and I must say it was a good thing I didn't want much to eat as the food was pretty nasty. We got some lettuce, tomato and carrot as a starter, then some pasta - but there was no cheese left - and some cooked chicken...thus no culinary heights were reached with this meal. I guess all the sitting around and eating in the previous days have killed my appetite and my body hasn't quite gotten into the swing of things yet.

But it'll get better. After all, tomorrow's another day!


Stage 2 results