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Roadside PEZ: Splashing Around The Valencia TTT!
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Roadside PEZ: Looking back at the 2017 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana this time last year, the weather wasn't quite as wet or as cold for the stage finish in Denia. Our man in Spain, Al Hamilton, ventured out watch the Valencia Tour team time trial finishing just down the coast from Denia in Calpe and bumped into some of the stars of the past, present and future.

Race report in EUROTRASH Monday.

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Snow on the hills

The team time trial stage 3 start was in the village of village of Poble Nou de Benitatxell, not a big place, but has become famous for being at the base of the summit of the Vuelta a España finish of the Cumbre del Sol with its Mediterranean views.

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The village was mostly closed for the day

There was quite a difference from the last time I was here, in August it was in the high 30ºC, this morning the car was convinced it was 2ºC with the chance of ice on the road. This was also a change from last years Valencia team time trial in the south of the region. The inclement weather did not help the chaos of the race shutting down half of the village.

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Handy garage

The team busses were parked in a couple of the village streets which was handy for the teams to use the garages for setting up the TT bikes and for the riders to warm up.

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The orange tea, needed coffee

It's good to see the orange of Euskadi back in the peloton, but the riders were more interested in having a coffee before the team test. The restaurant in Benitatxell was not big so it was lucky that not many had spotted it hidden behind the team trucks.

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Alberto is still looking fit

One man who had found this escape from the wet and cold was multi Grand Tour champion, Alberto Contador. Of course everyone wanted their photo with 'el Pistolero' including the podium boys and girls. Contador seems more relaxed than he used to be when he was racing, but life changes when you retire.

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Garzelli chats with Contador

Another face from the past was Stefano Garzelli, now a local of Valencia he works on the race alongside race director and Vuelta a España winner Angel Cassero. Like any good Italian he could sniff out a good coffee and the smell of pizza and meet up with Alberto.

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Mancebo warming up for the TTT

Francisco Mancebo was lining up in Valencia with his Dominican Inteja Finnaie team. At 41 and in his 21st year as a pro bike rider, he must still be keen.

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Israeli team get ready

The Israeli Cycling Academy had taken over someones front room for their warm up.

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Game of darts anyone?

The Contador backed Polartec-Kometa Team were nice and warm in a garage. Who wouldn't give their garage to a bike team when Alberto Contador asks?

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A warm up or a stay cold?

The Polish CCC team had to warm up outside, unluckily they didn't have a handy garage.

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EF's Cannondale bikes

Disk brakes on the Cannondale time trial bikes.

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Bar front for Cofidis

The French Cofidis team, including Spanish road champion Jesús Herrada, had commandeered the front of a bar next to their truck and bus, 9th place for them wasn't a bad result.

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The Polartec-Kometa team are well provided

The Contador team are riding Trek, no surprise there.

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Mancebo ready to go

Mancebo and his Dominican team were ready for the cold, wet start. After some teams wanting the stage to be cancelled, the rain stopped and the sky became a little lighter. It was decided to shorted the stage to 23.2 kilometers from the original 30 and the team times would not count towards the GC. Safer for the riders and still a good spectacle for the fans.

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The men in orange

Team Euskadi, not to be confused with Euskadi Basque Country - Murias.

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The Contador team

The Polartec-Kometa team took it easy on the first corner.

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Israeli Cycling Academy team

The Israeli team were well wrapped up for the cold conditions, will the Giro d'Italia be like this?

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The Rally Cycling team from the USA

The Rally team had come from America for a short Euro campaign. For me it was time to try and get to the finish, easier said than done. You couldn't get on the course from the village, so a bypass down to the coastal town of Moraira had to be taken and then a very helpful policeman lifted the barrier to let me on the course. It was going to be a dull drive if I didn't find a team to follow. Better wait for the next team.

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Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in Moraira

I didn't have long to wait for Spain's second biggest team after Movistar, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

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The men in green

Slotting in behind the men in green was perfect. Easy drive to the finish and the chance of a couple of action shots.

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Two short climbs on the road to Calpe

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The course was no hard, the rain had stopped and the road was drying up.

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Gazprom-RusVelo cross the line

In to Calpe and the finish had a stiff clim to the line. Once I parked the car, the Gazprom-RusVelo were just fighting their way to the line.

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Sport Vlaanderen-Balois finish

The Belgian Sport Vlaanderen team were glad of the push to their masseur and their warm clothing.

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The Belgian riders were happy to see the end of the team test

'Where is the hotel?'

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Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide

KOM, Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide of Euskadi Basque Country - Murias was happy with a push.

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Pellizotti lost contact with the rest of his team

Bahrain-Merida was one of the teams who did not want the stage to take place, Franco Pellizotti came in a little after his teammates.

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Sky and Astana

The Sky team didn't try too hard and were caught by the Astana team on the line for 3 minutes.

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Is that a pointed look?

Second place for Astana, not so good for Sky, but it wasn't important for the overall.

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Simon Yates brought the Mitchelton-Scott team over the finish line

Mitchelton-Scott didn't push too hard on the pedals

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Valverde didn't come to the front much to save his energy for stage 4

A safe finish for the overall leader.

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A great return for Valverde

A rest day for the yellow jersey?

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The Astana guys with press officer Vitalii

A strong ride from the Astana team gave them second overall and the lead in the team competition.

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Stage winner BMC

BMC want to win those team time trials and they took it very seriously taking over a minute out of second placed Astana. The cava was sprayed in the usual manner, aimed at the photographers.

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BMC DS Valerio Piva

Great to see BMC director sportif, Valerio Piva. He was happy with the win.

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Olympic champion, Greg Van Avermaet was well wrapped up

Another 'interesting' day, although fairly pointless. Alejandro Valverde is back after his Tour de France crash and BMC are still the best team against the clock. A cold day in Valencia - roll on la Vuelta in August and those days of 40ºC.

Valencia stage 3:


Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 3 Result:
1. BMC in 27:24
2. Astana at 1:08
3. AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:12
4. CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 1:36
5. Gazprom–Rusvelo
6. Katusha-Alpecin at 1:43
7. Euskadi-Murias at 1:46
8. Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 1:54
9. Cofidis at 2:14
10. Direct Energie at 2:15.

 

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