Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

News

La Vuelta de Barry: The race is on

After three days of sitting around in a hotel and counting the hours and then minutes until the start, the Vuelta is finally under way. The course around Spain this year takes us first through the Pyrénées, then along the east coast toward the southern peaks, and then up to Madrid. The course suits our team, with six mountain stages where Chechu, Roberto and Triki can shine, some flatter potentially windy days where the rest of us can control the race from the front, and some sprint stages where Max can show his strengths. The team has come to the Vuelta this year with perhaps the

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

By Michael Barry, U.S. Postal Service

Too much Metallica for Hincapie, y'think?

Too much Metallica for Hincapie, y’think?

Photo: Michael Barry

After three days of sitting around in a hotel and counting the hours and then minutes until the start, the Vuelta is finally under way.

The course around Spain this year takes us first through the Pyrénées, then along the east coast toward the southern peaks, and then up to Madrid. The course suits our team, with six mountain stages where Chechu, Roberto and Triki can shine, some flatter potentially windy days where the rest of us can control the race from the front, and some sprint stages where Max can show his strengths.

The team has come to the Vuelta this year with perhaps the strongest team it has ever fielded. We actually have four guys who can ride in the top 10 in general classification: Floyd, Triki, Roberto and Chechu. Roberto is the leader, but he will have backup if he ever gets in a bind. We have a very motivated team with three guys racing in their homeland, two guys who missed out on the early season, and another four who missed out on the Tour and are fresh.

Gijon, the city we are starting in, is a coastal town on the northwestern coast of Spain. The countryside in Asturias is unlike the rest of Spain, with rolling hills and green pastures littered with dairy cattle. Chechu lives 5km from our hotel. It has been nice having a local to guide us on our training rides.

Willy, our chef, is here in Spain with us, too. Each morning he prepares eggs any way we desire, and then at night he whips up some pasta. Throughout the race he will prepare different sauces to keep the meals interesting. Good food makes a huge difference during a three-week race, especially when racing in a country that specializes in overcooked pasta topped with a sauce resembling tomato soup.

Floyd has been burning us a CD each day on his computer so that we can have a little entertainment in the bus. He has a wide range of music in his library, and it is always a mystery to see what vibe he is going to give us. Today before the start we were all bumping to Snoop, Dre and Nelly. The bus was moving and got us all ready to roll. While training yesterday I had Metallica rolling through my head for three hours.

The last few days we have been training on our TT bikes, getting comfortable with them and with the team formation. As we rode around, cars passed by with their passengers screaming for the hometown hero, Chechu. Yesterday, he saw his father-in-law, friends, wife and a lot of fans.

After riding the course a few times, we realized it would not be a simple TTT. We had to have tactics focused on how to approach the corners, climbs and descents. The course was technical, with many corners near the finish through the city center, a hill at the start where we needed to be careful not to blow the team to pieces, and a dangerous descent where we needed to go fast but without taking risks.

Our goal today was to win the TTT and have Roberto finish first and take the golden jersey – a goal we missed by just 10 seconds. I think we rode the race well. We made few mistakes, and were simply beaten by a stronger team.

Though we didn’t win the TTT as we had hoped, we managed to put a good chunk of time into many of our rivals in the race for the overall. Roberto is now more than a minute ahead of his nemesis from last year, Aitor Gonzales, close to a minute ahead of Casero, and a good chunk ahead of Sevilla. It is a shame we weren’t able to jump ahead of ONCE, but hopefully we will be able to make the difference in the Pyrénées next week.

Unlike the Tour and Giro, the Vuelta heads directly into the hills. Tomorrow’s stage is a tough one. Despite being short, it is hilly, and Johan has predicted that only 30 riders will make it over the last climb. Let the show begin….

U.S. Postal’s Michael Barry will be giving us a behind-the-scenes tour throughout this year’s Vuelta.