Etixx - Quick-Step rider Carlos Verona, 33rd in the general classification, 7th place in Stage 16, and a member of several breakaways so far at La Vuelta a España, took time on the final rest day of the last grand tour of 2015 to write a blog about racing the Spanish grand tour as a Spanish rider.
Burgos, September 8th
Maybe most of you don't know that every race day, after the stage, I write my own diary on my Facebook page. Unfortunately I finish the races so tired and I just write it in my mother language, Spanish. However if you are curious, you know Spanish, or you have a good translator, check out the hastag #veronablog where you will find all my posts.
But not today!!! And because it is our rest day in #lavueltadeverona I am doing this #veronablog in English for our team page.
This is my second participation in La Vuelta and even I am feeling more stronger and prepared than in the prior year. The guys and I, we all think that this is has been a very hard edition.
Until the moment I wrote this blog we've done 16 stages, and not one has been easy. It has been always something difficult. Making reference about the route: or a small hill at 3km to go, or constant up-and-down in the stages that looked "easy," or just crazy days like the stage in Andorra or yesterday in Asturias, days where we had to ascend with our Specialized bikes more over 5.000 meters each day, which is a lot...
It is also true that we've had many transfers, and this makes the race even harder. To be honest, it is not easy to make a perfect route that satisfies the riders and the race organizers. Maybe I am not objective, but I love this race as it is currently... The landscapes during the 3,000 race kilometers changes a lot, with different but at the same time awesome scenarios. People support us riders with passion, and almost in every town we pass with the race, I have friends or good memories of my childhood. In short, I just love La Vuelta.
Coming back to our team, we've started this Vuelta without a big leader in the 9 selected, which was presented in Costa del Sol two weeks ago. There was no specific rider as the star for the sprints or the overall. That is something strange for a team like us ,which is used to having always a big favorite in every race that we participate in. From the first day, we decided with our sports directors and staff that the goal was to try for a stage win, so basically trying to have every day someone in the breakaway. In my opinion it worked quite well. We've been in 13 breakaways of 15 possible. Also, the most important thing has been the spirit here inside the team. We've supported each other every day to be in the break, of course, but also to get past the small problems that happen during such a long race like this. We've been close to the victory several times, especially the day that Maxime Bouet was caught solo at 150 meters to go... Victory didn't happen yet, but all of us, we will keep trying to bring a victory home.
Another positive note of this Vuelta is the solid performance of my roommate Gianluca Brambilla. He stands 12th in the GC at just five days to go. Considering the high level of this Vuelta, and also the many times that he has had to work for the others in the past, it is nice that here he will have his own result as a top 15 GC finisher of a grand tour... Chapeau for him!
From my point of view, all the riders who are able to ride day-by-day full gas, to do a good GC or go for a good result whenever possible, deserves all my admiration and respect... Each and every rider. ;-)
Concluding today's post I will say two things...
The first one is that I see myself as a grand tour rider. I like the style of racing, I like the importance of mental focus, I like to discover many new places with my bike, and I feel that I perform better in the second week. So this Vuelta, it is a big motivation to keep working hard to become in a better cyclist for the grand tours of the future.
The second one is that I am very happy to be racing here in this race, my favorite one. I am feeling well and I am enjoying every minute of every day. Even sometimes the tiredness makes it difficult, but when I am tired I try to think about the thousands of kids that would love to be here (as I dreamed it too a few years ago). The positive thinking and the power of the mind is what makes me keep going.
That's all from the Etixx - Quick - Step in Burgos, but I don't want to say goodbye before I mention my appreciation for the work of our sports directors, masseurs, mechanics ,and the rest of the staff that makes our Vuelta much more easier. They do not pedal, but they suffer and enjoy this as much as we do. We ARE a TEAM. #OurWay
Etixx - Quick-Step has announced the selection that will participate in La Vuelta a España. La Vuelta is a three-week, 3356.1km stage race and the last grand tour of the 2015 season. The race begins on August 22nd and ends on the 13th of September.
The 2015 route promises to be as challenging as ever, with 13 hilly and high mountain stages, a team time trial, an individual time trial, and six flat stages. The individual time trial of Stage 17 is 39km in length, while the team time trial, which opens La Vuelta, is a distance of 7.4 kilometers. There are a total of 44 summits at La Vuelta this year. There are two rest days.
The definitive day for the general classification may be the penultimate stage on the 12th of September. Stage 20, from San Lorenzo de El Escorial to Cercedilla, includes four Category 1 climbs, and a descent into a short uphill finale. However, La Vuelta is a difficult race and any stage can be a surprise.
"We have a nice team, a mix of experienced riders and young guys," Sport Director Rik Van Slycke said. "Our goal is to try and be a protagonist by entering into the breakaways ,and doing the best we can in any situation as the race evolves. In a race like La Vuelta any day can be something unexpected, and we will see what opportunities we can pounce on day-by-day. We will see what we can do in the final grand tour of the year."
David De La Cruz will participate, just 18 days after crashing at Tour de Pologne and breaking his collarbone.
"I'm super happy to be at the start," De La Cruz said. "Together with the team, we did everything to make sure I was recovered and ready for this race. I really wanted to be at La Vuelta. I would like to thank Etixx - Quick-Step, and the medical staff, for the trust they had in me, and for helping me to make sure the condition is there to race without any risks. Of course I don't know how I will be, as I lost a few days of training. But I think I should be OK with the preparation I had before my crash. But at an exigent race like La Vuelta, you never know. The most important thing at the moment is to be at the start and then see what the race can bring, and what I can do in supporting the team."more information
In order to beat the heat and the stress of "Le Tour" stages, every day Etixx - Quick-Step uses a cold bath at Le Tour de France. This temperature specific bath is located in the team camper outside the team hotel. There are multiple physical, as well as mental, benefits of this cold bath.
"It's a perfect way to cool down after the race," Team Doctor Helge Riepenhof said. "The cold bath serves four major functions. The first is to cool down your body temperature, immersed in a cold and nice environment. This is nice for your heated body without the risk of getting ill. The second effect is actually sitting in the water, which produces some hydrostatic pressure on the legs. Hydrostatic pressure on the legs means the vessels get a kind of compression, and this compression improves the venous flow to your heart, which improves recovery. The third function is that it's simply nice. It's a great feeling. It's a mental boost to get out of the heat and return to the cold. Also, everyone says it is an ice bath, but it is not. It is a bath between 10 to 12, and sometimes 14 degrees celsius. On very rare days it is eight degrees celsius. We set it based on how hot it is outside. But normally the temperature fluctuates between 10 and 14 degrees celsius. It's warmer than the temperature that would create ice, but cold enough to carefully and slowly lower the body temperature. The fourth function is that the bath is a natural way to reduce inflammation. You don't want to completely kill the inflammation, as inflammation has a purpose in the process of repairing muscle tissue. The cold bath reduces it to where it is in a perfect state for the body to recover and heal. Riders do it immediately after the race, but also after massages and before bed, because you sleep better. Riders don't just sit in the water. They also put their under arms in the water. There are a lot of nerves in that area that can give feedback about temperature to the brain. So, after having your under arms in the water, and across your legs, you can go to bet with your body feeling cooler and that makes it easier to go to bed, which improves sleep quality."
Image: Etixx - Quick-Step TDF Miniature Rider "Charlie" and the Cool Bath Duck. Photo ©BrakeThrough Media
Etixx - Quick-Step riders feel confident in the cold baths helping them recover better each day.
"It's really nice after long and hot stages to recover in the cold bath," Mark Cavendish said. "You feel better immediately. You cool down and your body recovers faster, where you can be ready for the next stages. The cold bath has made a huge difference at Le Tour, where's it's been so hot the past few days."
Image: Matteo Trentin in the Cool Bath. Photo ©BrakeThrough Media
Image: Matteo Trentin (top) and Julien Vermote (below) using the cool bath after another hot TDF stage. Photo ©BrakeThrough Media
"I don't just do it after the stage, but also before bed in the evening," Matteo Trentin said. "If you do it, and also put your under arms inside, you sleep really well. It is really relaxing to cool your body in a controlled way. It is really a mental boost as well, because you can actually feel the difference these baths make immediately. I noticed it more than ever the few stages in the Pyrenees. It was so extremely hot, but these baths removed a lot of the stress of the heat that otherwise can wear on you after a few days. And as anyone knows, Le Tour is a mental grind as much as it is a physical one."
Velon has entered a partnership and content-capture agreement with GoPro, maker of versatile cameras and enabler of today's most immersive and engaging content.
Under the terms of the deal Velon will capture both on-bike race footage and behind the scenes videos with GoPro. Together, Velon and GoPro will give a unique view on the sport and show more of what goes into winning the world's biggest bike races – be it from the riders', the Directeur Sportifs [sporting director]', the mechanics' and the teams' point of view.
GoPro will partner with Velon, whose teams make up two thirds of the 17 WorldTour (top level) squads, to show the content on their digital and social media platforms.
The deal is effective immediately and Velon will begin capturing content starting at the 102nd edition of the Tour de France Velon will exclusively use GoPro cameras, with the deal running throughout 2015.
With their line of wearable and gear mountable cameras, GoPro is transforming the way we watch sports. Their top-end model, the HERO4 Black, delivers up to 4K-resolution video and couples this with an ultra-wide field of view, high quality audio and wireless viewing / control features to enable a more immersive experience than ever before. The partnership centres on GoPro's unique ability to offer unprecedented angles, perspectives and points of view – all in broadcast quality – to create a more engaging experience for sports fans across the world.
Velon CEO Graham Bartlett said: "The partnership will show fans a new side of cycling, with the fantastic moments that have never been captured before, I think this is a great deal for the sport. GoPro's YouTube channel is one of the world's highest ranked online sports channels, in the top 5 for both subscribers and video views, we want this partnership to excite the fans and open the sport up to new ones from around the world."
Todd Ballard, Senior Director of Lifestyle Marketing for GoPro said: "Cycling is one of the ultimate team sports, but the best moments often happen away from the TV cameras. By partnering with Velon, we can get inside the action and show what it takes to win in one of the world's most demanding sports, bringing the sport alive for our millions of fans."
Velon is a business venture formed by pro-cycling teams in 2014 to foster longer term stability for its members and the sport. It is wholly owned and controlled equally by the 11 shareholding teams. Headquartered in the UK, the commercial organisation was founded by BMC Racing Team, Etixx - Quick-Step, Lampre - Merida, Lotto Soudal, Orica GreenEDGE, Team Cannondale - Garmin, Team Giant - Alpecin, Team Lotto NL - Jumbo, Team Sky, Tinkoff - Saxo, Trek Factory Racing.
Here we are starting racing again at Critérium du Dauphiné. I will start riding after a great Amgen Tour of Calfiornia, and will participate for the second time in my life. As a French rider I really love this race.
The week of Amgen Tour of California was really incredible. I had a great result and was super happy about what I was able to achieve. It was an experience I will never forget against some strong guys. There was a great emotion. After that performance I came back and I took a few days off. I was near Bordeaux with my girlfriend to take a few days off. We had a really great time working and discovering a new part of France.
One of my passions is to go around and discover my country. We are always traveling with this job, but to be honest there is not a lot of time to enjoy the places where we are because we are so busy. The vacation was perfect. I switched off my brain and I even went to a zoo!
After a great time off, I started training again. We will see what will happen in the next weeks after Critérium du Dauphiné. There will be a European Championship in Baku and then the national championship. I really don't know what I can expect from those races. I'm young and want to pay attention to learning from my experiences first and foremost. For me everything is quite new, and we have to work on managing this situation.
I'm really excited to have been selected for the Championship in Baku. The chance to ride with the national jersey is super nice. It will be a pleasure to ride there. But I'm not sure what I can expected from this race, and to be honest I don't want to think about it right now. It will be a big moment for sure. I've had great experiences from the first part of the season and now I will have also this great opportunity to ride this race. I am definitely curious about it. I don't have big expectation at this moment. We will go step-by-step. I rode a lot this year so I don't know how my condition will be in the upcoming weeks. For sure the will to do well is always there! Then after the nationals together with the team we will make a evaluation and decide the rest of the program for the season.
A lot of Belgians asked me if I will ride Le Tour. No, not this year. Le Tour is a race the French guys of the peloton dream about. One day I wll ride it for sure. Just not this year. The race is really demanding, the teams are really strong, and for me and my calendar it would be too much. So I won't be there, but I won't miss any stages in front of the television. If possible I'd like to go to one stage to say hello to the guys before the race as a spectator. When you are a rider on the road you experience the race in another way. I hope to see a lot of the French public on the roads and I hope the team will have a great result. For now my focus is on Critérium du Dauphiné, and we will see what I can do there. I will learn from each stage and my goal is to ride in function of the team.