La Vuelta 2013: Stage 7 – Almendralejo to Mairena de Aljafare

Hola! Stage 7 of La Vuelta turned south and crossed into the heat of Andalucia. Riders coped with temperatures touching 38 degrees as they left the countryside for the tree-lined town of Mairena de Aljarfare on the outskirts of Seville. The race was a much closer affair than Stage 6, with a nip and tuck race between the two leaders Gilbert and Stybar to the cross the finish. Here are my drawings:

Bullish! Tony Martin, by Maxine Dodd, watercolour, pen and ink

La Vuelta 2013: Stage 6 – Guijuelo to Caceres

Hola! Stage 6 of La Vuelta explored further inland, into the plains of bull-fighting country. Certainly the theme carried over into the race with an incredible performance by Tony Martin. As the world time-trial champion, he set a blistering pace and led the stage by a great distance for 170km. In spite of huge effort, the peloton could not keep up. The sting came at the finish where the riders finally caught and passed him as they crossed the line itself. Martin finished in seventh place. Cruel sport indeed… Here are my drawings:

La Vuelta 2013: Stage 5 – Sober, Lago De Sanabria

Hola! Stage 5 of La Vuelta turned away from the sea and travelled inland through rolling countryside, fields and pine trees. Orange roofs gave way to dark grey and for the first time in this race there was rain. Sunshine prevailed by the end as riders came into Lago de Sanabria to a sprinters’ finish! Here are my drawings:

La Vuelta 2013: Stage 4 – Lalin, Estrada, Finisterre

Hola! Stage 4 of La Vuelta was a rolling course again taking in coastal scenery and pretty red-roofed houses. There was barely a flat road on the route but the test came with the climb to the Mirador de Ézaro. This was a test for everyone’s legs! Here are my drawings:

La Vuelta 2013: Stage 3 Vigo – Mirador de Lobeira, Vilagarcía de Arousa

Hola! Stage 3 of La Vuelta was a twisting, turning route through the Galician coast and hills. Climbs not as tough as Stage 2, but strong crosswinds off the coast to contend with not to mention narrow roads and tight space over the bridge to the Illa de Arousa. The surprise finish came in the form of 41-year old Chris Horner,  who after 4 hours of riding, sprinted uphill to take the win like a teenager, giving hope to us all! Here are my drawings:

La Vuelta 2013: Stage 2 Pontevedra – Baiona

Hola! Stage 2 of La Vuelta continued exploring the Atlantic coastline of Galicia with a dramatic climb from the coast road to the finish at Alto de Monte da Groba in Baiona. The day’s racing was led most of the stage by a breakaway of three riders but the stage was eventually won in style by Nicolas Roche. I confess that my eyes were distracted by the sea, with breakers and high hills – even a landlocked boat! Wonderful! Here are my drawings:

Sky cross the line, by Maxine Dodd

La Vuelta 2013: Stage 1 Vilanova de Arousa – Sanxenxo

Hola! So good to be back in the saddle for the last Grand Tour of the season, which takes us round Spain. Stage 1 took place as a team time trial on the gorgeous north-west coast of Galicia. 22 teams began the race by crossing a glass pontoon at Vilanova de Arousa and riding their way by pine forests and vineyards until reaching the pretty beach town of Sanxenso. The stage was won by team Astana. A great start to three weeks of racing – Fantastic! Here are my drawings: