Procycling - - PROLOGUE -

This year’s Vuelta a Es­paña was one

I will not for­get. Of course, it’s not a hol­i­day and you have to suf­fer some­times - I did a lot the first week. The heat of An­dalu­sia was in­tense and the ter­rain in the north is un­for­giv­ing, con­stantly up and down and twist­ing around the beau­ti­ful north­ern coast.

My favourite mo­ment of the Vuelta? I have three. The first was my team-mate Ben King’s stage wins. I think Igor An­ton summed it up best, when he said “cy­cling owed Ben these vic­to­ries”. Ben is a su­per strong rider and al­ways gives his best for the team, so his vic­to­ries made a lot of peo­ple very happy.

The se­cond is when I found out I was room­ing with Igor. Igor didn’t know he was go­ing to re­tire in Madrid un­til around stage 14. It was very emo­tional for him, af­ter 14 years rac­ing now he will start a new ad­ven­ture. He fin­ished 14th on the tough An­dorra stage and he has achieved four stage wins dur­ing his ca­reer at the race. It was a nice way to stop. He did the first lap of the Madrid stage alone off the front of the pelo­ton. A top man.

And the third? Si­mon Yates win­ning his first grand tour, to make three Bri­tish rid­ers win­ning all three grand tours this year. Af­ter Si­mon’s vic­tory at the Vuelta, G at the Tour and Froomey at the Giro, to­gether they have in­spired a gen­er­a­tion of younger Bri­tish rid­ers.

On the flip side, my worst mo­ments from the race. The first was find­ing out in Malaga, in the 40-de­gree heat, that Igor doesn’t sleep with air con. I woke up at 3am sweat­ing, I went to re­cep­tion to see if there was a spare room but the ho­tel was full, so I found a dusty fan in­stead.

The se­cond was af­ter about 90 min­utes, full-gas rac­ing around stage 10 or 11, I was fight­ing to get in the break. I fol­lowed Kawasaki [Micha¯ Kwiatkowski] up a small one-k climb, at over 600w. I made it over with him and one other and we en­tered a tun­nel. When we came out the other side, the break had swelled - Quin­tana, Yates and a few oth­ers had joined us. It was the worst and short­est break of my life! When the GC rid­ers start mov­ing at the start of stages, you know it’s been a hard be­gin­ning to the day.

Steve bat­tled to get into the breaks dur­ing the se­cond week of the Vuelta

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