D I M E N S I O N DATA
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