Edurne – Amanecer 

“Mi corazón, me susurró
A mí no vuelvas sin su amor
Eeeeeeeeeo, eeeeeeeeeo
Devuélveme, el alma en pie
Delvuélveme, AMANECER

Spain | | Vuelta a España 2015 Song

Thirteen Seconds

The 26th of April, 1956. A rainy day in Spain. Spring did not come early this year. It is a normal Thursday morning for most of the people of Spain. Except in Bilbao. More than ninety thousand people are heading to the centre of town. The start of the Vuelta a España is in Bilbao this year and almost everybody in the city wants to catch a glimpse of the favorites. Impanis, Bahamontes, Koblet, van Steenbergen and Conterno are only a few names of the big riders at the start in 1956. On the slippery roads to Santander there was no attack from one rider and the sprint was won by Rik van Steenbergen.

During the next stage, from Santander to Oviedo, the rain was pouring from the sky again. A breakaway group of three riders went away. Angelo Conterno, an Italian rider, began to chase them and when he came with them, he attacked and left the group behind too, 24 kilometres before the finish. He won the stage solo with a time difference of 1 minute and 12 seconds on the second group. He did not only win the stage, but he also became the leader in the general classification of the race and got to wear the yellow leader’s jersey.

vuelta 1956

The next few stages were not interesting at all; riders weren’t attacking, because of the control of the biggest teams and most of the stages ended up in sprints. On the 4th of May, the organisation had enough of the lack of action of the riders and stated that they would not tolerate it anymore. Some prize-money for stage eight was cancelled, which had some effect on the riders.

With only four stages to go, Conterno only had eight seconds left on his biggest rivals, Loroño and Bahamontes. In stage fifteen, from San Sebastian to Bilbao, Bahamontes was the first to attack the yellow jersey. He succesfully attacked on the Urkiola, a hard climb for most of the riders. However, during the climb he suffered several punctures and in the descend Loroño and Conterno chased him down. During the next stage, Bahamontes had no luck either; he had several punctures again and even a crash, which led to him losing four minutes.

Loroño then decided to atack on the last mountain in the Vuelta, the Sollube. A tired Conterno could not follow, but a chase for Loroño from an international coaliton of riders saved Conterno. The last stage ended up in a sprint in the streets of Bilbao and again thousands of people came out to cheer for the forty riders that finished. Conterno was the first Italian to win the Vuelta a España, leaving Loroño in second place in the general classification, just thirteen seconds behind Conterno. It is one of the smallest gaps ever between the number one and two in a grand Tour in cycling history.

Angelo Conterno on his bike in Bilbao, celebrating
his victory of the Vuelta a España 1956

Photos Eneco Tour 2015

Eneco Tour 2015 / 10 August / Stage 1 – Bolsward-Bolsward

This year the Eneco Tour started in Bolsward in the north of the Netherlands. Just like the previous editions, the Eneco Tour lasts one week with stages in Holland and Belgium. The first stage of the race was 183,5 kilometres long with two big laps crossing a part of Friesland and two small laps in and around the area of Bolsward. Nine years ago the Eneco Tour was also in Friesland and back then Tom Boonen (EQS) was the winner of the stage. He did not win this time around, but he did win the third stage later in the week in Ardooie.

Last year the Eneco Tour was won by a young talented rider, the Belgian Tim Wellens (LTS). He was the first Belgian rider ever to win the Eneco Tour and this year it was one of his goals again. Just back from his first Tour the France, he was still motivated and feeling strong. Although Wilco Kelderman (TLJ) took the leaders jersey in the fifth stage, Wellens attacked in the sixth and won this heroic stage and also took over the first position in the general classification. In the last stage to Geraardsbergen, Wellens was able to defend his position. For the second time in a row he was the winner of the Eneco Tour. Greg van Avermaet (BMC) was second and Wilco Kelderman third.

Team Lotto-Soudal and Trek Factory Racing were leading the peloton during the race. A bunch of 6 riders formed the head of the race for a long time, but they got caught at 16 kilometres before the finish.

Elia Viviani (SKY) was the winner of the sprint, leaving Danny van Poppel (TFR) and Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) behind him. André Greipel wasn’t on the podium, ending at a fourth place. By winning the stage, Viviani was also leading the general classification. This only lasted for one day though, because the day after Greipel won the stage in Breda and earned the leaders jersey.


Photos Spektakel van Steenwijk 2015

Spektakel van Steenwijk 2015 / 4 August / Steenwijk

Bauke Mollema (TFR) was the star of the evening in Steenwijk during this year’s edition of the Spektakel van Steenwijk criterium. Mollema became seventh in the Tour de France and is very popular in the north of the Netherlands; he grew up in Groningen and now lives with his family in Leeuwarden in Friesland. A few days later, Mollema started in his own race, the third edition of the Bauke Mollema Tocht. The race was a huge success: there were 2400 enthusiastic participants.

The organisation of the criterium decided that this year they would only invite Dutch riders and particularly focused on the popular riders from the Tour de France. As stated before, Bauke Mollema (TFR) came to the race, together with Pieter Weening (OGE), Wout Poels (SKY), Steven Kruijswijk (TLJ), Tom Leezer (TLJ), Albert Timmer (TGA), Lieuwe Westra (AST) and Ramon Sinkeldam (TGA).

Besides that, a lot of continental riders and local riders got the chance to ride amongst the top of the Dutch cycling world. A total of forty riders were present at the start. Also Anna van der Breggen came to Steenwijk  and was honoured for winning La Course and the Giro d’Italia for Women earlier this year.

A lot of riders tried to stay away during the race. Tom Leezer (TLJ) even tried it on his own, but without any luck. It was Bauke Mollema (TFR) who succeeded in winning the criterium, just before Albert Timmer (TGA) and Pieter Weening (OGE). Lieuwe Westra (AST) was the most combative rider of the evening and Wout Poels (SKY) won the sprint classification.


Photos Tour de France 2015 #3

Tour de France 2015 / 6 July / Anvers (Antwerp) – Huy

The third stage of the Tour de France 2015 started in Antwerp in Belgium. The stage was 159,5 kilometres long and the finish was on the wall of Huy in the village Huy, also in Belgium. The wall of Huy is a climb of about 1 kilometer, with sections that go up to 20%. Joaquim Rodriguez (KAT), a specialist in these sort of short climbs, was able to ride away from the first group and won the stage.

The bikes from the riders of team Orica-GreenEDGE are ready to go in the photo above. The colours of the team are blue and green and so are the bikes. Simon Gerrans (101) prefers green.

Peter Sagan (TCS) is heading to the start. In this Tour de France he wasn’t capable of winning a stage, although he was close in many sprint stages. However, he sprinted to a lot of second and third places in this Tour and took home the green jersey for best sprinter.

Just before the start Sebastian Langeveld (TCG) found out that there was something wrong with his bicycle saddle and the mechanic of the team was doing his best to fix it. After a few minutes Langeveld was satisfied with the result and took off on his bike to sign in for the stage.


Photos Tour de France 2015 #2

Tour de France 2015 / 5 July / Utrecht – Neeltje Jans/Zélande

The second stage of the Tour de France 2015 started in Utrecht. The finish was in Zeeland, on the artificial island ‘Neeltje Jans’. The island was once invented to facilitate the construction of the Oosterscheldedam. It was named after a nearby sand bank. The stage was 166 kilometres long and André Greipel (LTS) was the fastest in the sprint at the end of the day.

Joaquim Rodriguez (KAT) is on his way to the start in the photo above. In Utrecht the weather was still sunny and warm. However, during the stage the weather changed and it started to rain. The peloton fell apart and broke into pieces. Rodriguez lost time on Froome and Contador together with Quintana, Nibali and Valverde.

Alberto Contador (TCS) is this year’s winner of the Giro d’Italia and was hoping to do a Giro-Tour double. Until now, this was only done by seven other riders in history. Unfortunately, Contador did not succeed in his quest, because he was unable to follow Froome and Quintana during the mountain stages.

Robert Gesink, Paul Martens (TLJ) and Zdeněk Štybar (EQS) are heading to the start. Štybar was the winner of the sixth stage. It was his first win in the Tour de France and he said that it was a dream come true for him.