La Volta a Catalunya or selfie time with cycling stars
Have a tough Monday and then some this week? Clouds in Barcelona today upset you a little? Well, spare a thought for the riders of La Volta a Catalunya.
This very Monday hundreds of men embarked on the world-famous road bicycle race around the region of Catalonia which takes seven gruelling days to complete. They pedalled their bikes for more than 170km (105m) from the coastal town of Calella inland towards the hillside village of Tona and back again through the mountains, the highest peak of which, the majestic Coll Formic stands at 1 145 m (3 756 ft)! And that was just Monday. On Tuesday, twenty five teams and dozens of independent riders pedalled on from La Molina which stands at 1 725 m (5659 ft) down to Girona through more Catalan peaks. The next day, the cyclists conquered stage 4 of the race which lead them from Port Aine to Baga through over ten steep hills with over 600m (1968ft) of altitude, out of which six were over 1000m (3280ft) tall! Ready to hear about Thursday? Yesterday in fact the route of La Volta had to be shortened by 60km because of snow in the mountains which left 130km (80m) still to conquer that day. Ufff! Whilst the riders pedal on today with an impressive 750km(466m) already under their belts, let’s find out more about La Volta de Catalunya.
La Volta is an old and prestigious competition. It was first held in 1911 which makes it the fourth oldest still exsiting road bicycle race in the world. Only the legendary Tour de France, Tour of Belgium and Giro d’Italia are ahead in this classification. The prominent La Volta is part of the UCI World Tour. This means that the scores gained at La Volta are included in the overal annual ranking overseen by the UCI – The Union Cycliste Internationale or International Cycling Union. La Volta is the fifth race of the UCI World Tour classification. Twenty five teams are competing this year and there are big names like the British Team Sky, the French AG2R La Mondiale, and the Spanish Movistar Team.
But how can I see Chris Froome or Alberto Contador if they’re riding in the Catalan mountains? Worry not, the last stage of the race on Sunday is traditionally held in Barcelona, so the stars of cycling will be circulating just under your nose! If you find a good spot, you have eight shots at taking the perfect selfie with legends passing by…Wait, eight? That’s right, the riders of La Volta a Catalunya will finish the long race with eight loops of the mountain of Montjuic. So charge your batteries and practise the perfect poses, because the cycling extravaganza is this Sunday!