Some say the key to being successful is to be flexible. This was certainly true today. Breakfast was to be followed by an in depth look at the Scott bikes and an interview with the chief medic Inigo San Millan, but no sooner had I stepped out front of the hotel towards the team bus than Virginie offered me the opportunity for a ride along with team ds Joxean Fernandez (Maxtin). [Pez Note: I did a couple of hot laps at the SFGP with Matxin last year, and can attest to his… shall we say “skill’ behind the wheel.]
The Scott bikes get squeaky clean after the ride. Must be nice to own a pressure washer…eh?
Five minutes later I was flying along in the canary yellow team car bemoaning the fact that I didn’t empty my bladder before jumping at this opportunity. Nevertheless, the stunning Murcian scenery and the jovial antics of the team kept my mind occupied and ample opportunity to snap some shots of the guys in action. I was intrigued by the subtly differing pedaling styles and cadences amongst the group. The high revving, long legged Millar contrasting with the stomping punchy style of Piepoli. I looked forward to quizzing Inigo later on his views of the riders and their form.
The team cruises up hill with Millar at the helm.
Piepoli, the lively Italian was clearly the joker of the group, jostling and taking a few too many opportunities to hang onto the team car and exchange banter with Maxtin. One of the riders decided to compete with his jokes by demonstrating how he opened the door of a team car during the Tour of Andalucia. Ha ha I said, wondering again why no-one ever wears seat belts when there is a DS at the wheel. I’m afraid to say I was guilty too, bowed to peer pressure. I convinced myself that the nimble Spaniard wouldn’t be stopping quickly any time soon.
Jose Marchante demonstrates his knowledge of US political history with an on-bike impersonation.
The next stop was not too abrupt but was urgent nonetheless. Morning cafй
called, and the lucky host was a small establishment in a nondescript
village somewhere outside of Murcia. We all partook of a beverage in the bar and continued the light-hearted conversation that had marked the morning.
Another opportunity for pictures; it’s incredible how consumption of a caffeinated drink can become so photogenic when those drinking it make up some of the elite of professional cycling. I was also amused to see Olson, the new boy on the European block with his team mates. “To the manor born” one might say as the American has clearly not had any problems integrating. His friendship with Millar was also apparent, the two trading insults strong enough to make a sailor blush: a paradoxical form of British respect.
Okay I got one for ya: A Spanish cycling team walks into a bar… .
After the ride back at the hotel it was time for the first in a long line of
interviews for the day. I met up with Inigo and we talked for half an hour
about everything from physiological testing protocols to the future of
Spanish cycling. Following lunch, another interview beckoned with Gilberto
Simoni in his first year with Saunier – his first foreign team in his entire
career. Subsequently, I chatted with Rubens Bertogliati, another amicable
Swiss, David Millar on everything from being a changed man to electro and
finally Aaron Olson on being an American in Spain.
So with my mind saturated with the days dialogue I headed downstairs for
dinner. Once again I was taken aback by the hotels quasi opulence. Gold
chains, giant chairs and jet black floors gave the place a gangster
rapperesque charm. Following the meal, a close repeat from that of the
previous evening in terms of menu it was time for another cafй then off to
Check out these related links:
• Saunier Duval Team Camp – Day 1
• SaunierDuvalTeam.com website.
• SCOTTUSA website.
• Scott CR-1 PEZ-Test.