Sunday, March 29, 2015
Cycle race perfect excuse for trip to Girona
Forty-five minutes later in Girona the weather was much better. In fact all the winter gear was stowed in my bag. Fortunately, the route of the Tour was close to the station. After a quick ham-and-cheese baguette we picked our spot on a roundabout figuring that the cyclists would have to slow down a little at this point instead of going by in a blur, so we might actually see them and we did. Race motorbikes, race cars and some team cars passed by, and then we could hear the throbbing of a helicopter signifying the riders were near. The bright yellow of the Saxo Tinkoff riders, including Alberto Contador, the Movistar boys with race favorite Valverde, and some Sky riders raced by. After the first group passed by there were several other groups and individual riders not one big peloton.
Now we had over an hour while the cyclists rode another forty kilometers and then back to the finish line. Girona is built on either side of a river and is a lovely city to walk around. Unfortunately, I was trying out some daily contact lenses that kept fogging up and they wouldn't clear even after trying to clean them over and over. Girona is a city with lots of optical stores but of course none of them were open until 4:30. The first riders would be at the finish line at 5:00. We waited outside one store and finally the lady turned up at 4:35. I ran in, selected some lenses, threw out the fogged up lenses and put in the new ones. Eureka. I could see.
We made it back to the last stretch of the race. Once again all the race vehicles appeared and then the helicopter. A lone cyclist wearing the colors of Credit Agricole was pelting towards the finish line. It was Domenico Pozzovivo. There had been some crashes out on the course and the peloton had been broken up so the rest of the riders arrived in small and large groups. We waited to see the presentations including for the current Tour leader Pierre Rolland. Of all the cycling races we have seen this one was the best for catching more than a fleeting glimpse of the riders.
While waiting for the train back to the Port we saw a beautiful sunset over Girona. It seemed that the bad weather had finally broken. It was not to be. Arriving back at Llanca station it was still cold and so windy we hung on to each other as we staggered to the car.