La Vuelta 2013: Stage 21 – Leganés to Madrid

Hola! Stage 21 of La Vuelta comes to the Capital and home! The last stage unusually flat, and saw a great sprint around the streets of Madrid. Chris Horner was confirmed as overall winner, the oldest man to complete the Vuelta and the oldest man to win a Grand Tour. He’ll probably tire of hearing these statistics very quickly! A very happy Michael Matthews, took the stage win. Fans of cycling were delighted to have witnessed an amazing three weeks of racing.  Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 20 – Avilés to Alto de L’Angliru

Hola! Stage 20 of La Vuelta was the crunch stage! This is the one that decided the race. The course wasn’t for the fainthearted, with three tough climbs, but the toughest of them all, Alto de L’Angliru coming right at the end. Riders toiled through the mist and fog on one of the steepest climbs of the cycling calendar. The stage was won by young French rider Kenny Elissonde who worked amazingly hard to take the lead and hang on. On his tail was the owner of the red jersey, the astounding Chris Horner who has shown the world that 42 is a great age to be top of your sport, but sympathy has to go to Vincenzo Nibali who led for so much of this amazing tour. This sport is cruel indeed! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 19 – San Vicente de la Barquera to Oviedo

Hola! Stage 19 of La Vuelta saw a return to the coast and yet another steep climb to finish. Another gorgeous rural landscape leading through pretty villages to Oviedo. The race was exciting. Joaquim Rodriguez took the stage win, but the big news was that the red jersey became the property of American Chris Horner. Olé! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 18 – Burgos to Peña Cabarga

Hola! Stage 18 of La Vuelta explored the hills and pastoral landscape from Burgos towards the north coast. The stage had a sharp and steep climb to finish but took in lovely countryside along the way. There was a feeling of a step back in time. The race was very close, especially between the leaders Horner and Nibali who clung to the red jersey by only 2 seconds. However the stage was won for the first time this Vuelta by a member of the Sky team, Vasil Kiriyenka. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 17 – Calahorra to Burgos

Hola! Stage 17 of La Vuelta was the first of the last five stages building towards the goal of Madrid. A gentler course than the Pyrenees, but there were still some climbs, with a sprint finish into Burgos. It seemed to be a day of varying shades of pink, from the fields, villages and towns to the vivid Lampre Merida team, but at the last gasp, the stage turned electric green in the form of a brilliant burst to the line by Bauke Mollema, who took everyone by surprise and the stage win! Wonderful! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 16 – Graus to Sallent De Gállego

Hola! Stage 16 of La Vuelta was the last Pyrenean stage and most would be glad of that! However, the sun returned and shone on a beautiful mountain landscape cloaked in pine trees and green pasture. New star Warren Baguil led the way alongside Sky’s Rigoberto Uran both diving for the line together. The Frenchman won by a split second.  Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 15 – Andorra to Peyragudes

Hola! Stage 15 of La Vuelta continued through Andorra and the Pyrenees to make a unique border crossing to Peyragudes in France to honour the Centenary Tour. The atrocious conditions of yesterday took its toll on many and there were 21 retirements including Luke Rowe, Phillipe Gilbert and Tony Martin, many suffering from the extreme cold. Today’s gruelling stage continued where yesterday’s left off, in murk and mist, but the sun came through at last to shine on a very happy Alexandre Geniez – the young Frenchman’s best win of his career on home turf. Magnifique! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 14 – Baga to Collada de la Gallina

Hola! Stage 14 of La Vuelta arrived in Andorra to climb the Pyrenees. What a contrast to yesterday? The riders hit the mountains, the rain and the cold in one almighty blast. They battled slippery roads uphill but even more dangerously, the descents – whilst being desperate for warmth. Several riders retired with hypothermia, whilst others clung on to the wheels of their team-mates to get through this massive shock to the system.
Daniele Ratto managed supremely on this arduous stage to take a much deserved win. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 13 – Valls to Castelldefels

Hola! Stage 13 of La Vuelta continued through the hills and coast roads in the province of Barcelona. A lovely, sunny and hot day with crosswinds from the sea, the riders took in good climbs and descents through the dramatic landscape in and around Sitges with another uphill finish at Castelldefels. The stage was won by French rider Warren Barguil. Checking behind him as he approached the finish, he crossed the line 7 seconds ahead of everyone else! A very happy young man indeed! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 12 – Maella to Tarragona

Hola! Stage 12 of La Vuelta came from east to west into Catalunya, passing through the Costa Dorada town of Cambrils. Sunshine and flattish coastal roads made for a good stage. The sharp uphill finish saw Edvald Boasson Hagen make a bid for the win but he was overtaken in a burst for the line by Philippe Gilbert, the road-race world champion, taking his first stage win of this tour. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 11 – Tarazona to Tarazona

Hola! Stage 11 of La Vuelta was the individual time trial. After a much-needed rest day, the teams flew north to the province of Zaragoza. The stage was based around the landscape and town of Tarazona, including the corrida and a third category climb. The mighty thighs of Fabian Cancellara powered him round the course at a pace that proved to be impossible to beat. Fantastic! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 10 – Torredelcampo to Güéjar Sierra

Hola! Stage 10 of La Vuelta surprisingly is the first official climbing stage of the race. What have the riders been up to the previous nine you might ask! The course looked hot and dry the only relief being through leafy streets in Granada. A huge crash at the start saw some drop out, but the main contenders battled the stage, with the remarkable Chris Horner taking the win. Here are my drawings:

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