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Stage 8: Vuelta a Espana in Beniaya

6 September 2009 No Comment

Although we would not see the start or the finish, stage 8 was riding through the neighboring towns from where we are staying. We are staying in Benimassot and the next towns to the east are Tollos, then Facheca, then Famorca – three towns which the tour was riding through.

We were in the process of deciding which town to watch the race from when our neighbors knocked on our door at 11 am. They asked if we wanted to watch the tour with them. Of course, we said yes. They told us to bring some food and drinks as we would be watching from outside a smaller town, Beniaya, and having a picnic in the middle of a mountain. The Ultimate Sports Wife and I were excited since this was a rare experience to watch the race go by in such a remote location. They knocked on the door again at 12:30 pm and said our ride would be here in five minutes.

Of course, our ride was not there in five minutes as we waited and waited. According to lavuelta.com, the riders were supposed to arrive in Beniaya at 1:51 pm, 1:58 pm and 2:06 pm – depending on their speed. As it approached 1:20 pm, I started to get nervous we would miss the race.

Our driver showed up at 1:30 pm, we packed the car quickly and we were off. Little did we know, we would be taking a “secret” road over the mountains in order to end up in the location where they wanted to watch the tour. The “secret” road consisted of a dirt road driving over the mountain rather than a paved road going around the mountain. It’s a good thing we took that road as I don’t think we could have gotten to the location outside Beniaya otherwise.

We arrived at the remote location about 5 minutes before the leaders showed up. After the leaders, the peloton showed up 15 minutes later. We could see the peloton at the bottom of the mountain and saw them as they climbed the mountain to where we were located.

After the caravan (which includes the team cars, police and ambulances following the tour) went by it was time for a picnic in the middle of the mountains – an experience nearly impossible to recreate unless you have some locals helping you out. If you are a cycling fan, I am sure you have seen the random fans along the Tour de France route in some remote locations. That was pretty much where we were. A location so remote it took a 4×4 driving over a mountain to arrive on time.

Post Event Dining
If attending a tour in a small town, try to find a bar in one of the towns along the tour to watch some more of the stage on television. We happened to drive back to Benimassot, where we went to the only bar/restaurant in town to watch the remainder of the stage.

The Race
Stage 8 was the first mountain stage of the tour, which included almost no flat sections. Damiano Cuengo overtook David Moncoutie less than 1,000 meters from the finish line in Alto de Aitana to win the stage as Cadel Evans took the lead of the tour and received the gold jersey.

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