Tour de Tenerife rises to the great challenge

THE muscle-sapping, 23km uphill climbs, through a relentless green tunnel of trees, along with 60mph (94kmph) downhill sprints through a stiff cross-wind, failed to impress the Tour de Tenerife riders.

In fact, it was all in a day’s work for the 14 international teams, competing in the 63rd annual race, as the second leg crossed the ocean to La Gomera last Friday.

It was quite a logistical challenge, but tourists and locals, enjoying some island-hopping, were hardly aware of the 100 riders, their bikes and support cars, three Cruz Roja (Red Cross) ambulances, 17 Guardia Civil Trafico, and 10 Angeles Verdes the motorbike-mounted Green Angels’ out-riders.

It was a smooth operation, and the La Laguna’s sports department (OAD), even brought along a lorry-load of crash barriers.

The seven-strong British team, TBW23 Stuart Hall Gett Taxi Bottecchia, based in Gillingham, caught their breath at Los Cristianos port as captain Daniel Nieto reviewed their equipment after Hans Decker of Belgium team, Shifting Gears, won the opening day’s 44.5km, 10-lap stage in La Laguna.

“All seven of us made it through yesterday,” said Nieto. “The drop-out line is anyone 12 % slower than the winning time of each stage.

“Our bikes each cost between £3,500-5,000. They weigh about 5.7kg and have smooth tyres, using the same warm-up principal as Grand Prix cars. Then there’s our intake of electro lights, caffeine gels, high-carb drinks, and two litres of water each rider, per race.”

All those fuels were certainly needed as the riders set off from San Sebastian, around the 65.6km course, through Hermigua and Agulo, and then skirting Vallehermosa and the Garajonay National Park, before racing back, down the other side of the island to San Sebastian.

The winning time was a lightning 2.03hrs, and, this time, three of the Brits were outside the time limit.

Saturday was a mammoth 45km climb, from La Laguna to the Teide Observatory at Izaña, over 2,300m up. And the altitude and steep rise eventually put paid to the Brits’ quick start… two miles is the biggest climb they usually face back home.

Josh Copley was first of the team to finish, in 31st place, with Rob Rogers 36th, and all four survivors made it to the final day. Adria Moreno, of French team AIV Provence, took first spot.

The final day was a 47.2km challenge, from Santa Cruz to La Laguna, including a long, 22km climb to the Pico del Ingles viewpoint. And the gallant foursome all finished: Josh Copley was 29th, Rob Rogers 31st, Daniel Nieto 42nd and Cameron Foster 57th.

Eusebio Pascal, of Spanish team Mutua Levante, won the stage and sealed the overall championship.

The competition received a huge thumbs-up from all who competed, and the Brits, happy with finishing 10th out of the 14 teams, are eager to have another crack at it in the future.

They learned a lot of lessons from the four-day event, covering 200km and climbing a total of 54km.



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Posted by on Sep 7 2018. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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