La Vuelta 2014: Stage 17, Ortigueira to A Coruña

Hola! After the rest day, the last part of La Vuelta a Espana moves into Galicia where the crosswinds and high-kick roads continue to characterise this great race. Today’s course began on the coast and then turned inland working through towns and villages. The breakaway was led by Daniel Teklehaimanot of MTN-Qhubeka, the first African team to enter the race but in the end it was a sprinter’s stage with a great win for John Degenkolb. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 16, San Martín del Rey Aurelio to La Farrapona

Hola! The third day in the mountains. Better weather than yesterday revealed the mountains in their glory, not to mention a great stage for Contador and Froome, battling it out uphill, while Cancellara showed how to handle a descent! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 15, Oviedo to Lagos de Covadonga

Hola! The second of three days in the northern mountain ranges. Beautiful course through with amazing camber to the roads, made worse by the mist and rain. Incredible stage. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 14, Santander to La Camperona. Valle de Sabero

Hola! Up to the top of Spain and the wonderful landscapes of the Picos – but very tough climbing for the riders! Again, they amaze with their tenacity. From a British fan’s perspective this was a great day for Team Sky, who have gradually made their way up the standings. Chris Froome pulled out all the stops and is now in third place overall, but the red jersey remains firmly with the brilliant Contador. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 12 and 13, Logroño and Belorado to Obregón

Hola! Still playing catch up so I’ve combined highlights from Stage 12 and Stage 13, with your forgiveness! Stage 12 was a sprinters’ stage, riding long circuits of the terracotta city of Logroño, which was won by John Degenkolb, whereas Stage 13 set out into the hills again riding through beautiful green fields that reminded me of Yorkshire in July! A terrific climb at the last, with a win for Navarro.  Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 11, Pamplona to Santuario de San Miguel de Aralar

Hola! So good to be back after some unforeseen interruptions and technical hitches I’ve had the past few days. The peloton definitely left me behind, you might say! Stage 11 took a searing course through the Navarro mountains. Hot and steep, the riders hauled their way to the top. Sadly, there was another crash for Quintana and his Vuelta finally came to an end, but for Spanish fans there was great delight as the stage was won by Fabio Aru. Gruelling but terrific! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 10, Real Monasterio de Santa María de Veruela to Borja

Hola! Stage 10 saw an elaborate start to the second time trial, weaving through the terracotta walls of the monastery. From there, the course travelled through the province of Zaragossa to Borja in sunshine. Quintana began his first day in red well but suffered a dreadful crash on a bend. He recovered well enough to complete but lost his red jersey to the amazing Contador, riding so well after the appalling injury he sustained in the Tour. You just wouldn’t know it to look at him- amazing!  Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 9, Carboneras de Guadazaón to Aramón Valdelinares

Hola! Stage 9 was a climbing stage through the hills of Aragon. The surprise was the transformation in the weather – the rain poured! Team Sky began well but Lampre Merida’s Winner Anacona led from the front and took the win, but a great battle behind for the red jersey. Contador was close but Quintana took that prize. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 8, Baeza to Albacete

Hola! Stage 8 was the longest stage so far and left Andalucia for La Mancha. Long, straight roads through rolling plains meant crosswinds and speedier teams were ready to take advantage. Sky performed really well all day but the sprint to the finish saw a great battle with Nacer Bouhanni pounding through to victory! Here are my drawings:

 

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 7, Alhendín to Alcaudete

Hola! Stage 7 was another stage in Andalucia and what a stage it was. Long and bumpy course past fields of olive trees growing from red earth. The stage was ridden fast with strong breakaways and a peloton in hot pursuit. However, this pace caused several riders to fall – even as the peloton approached the winning line. A great win for Team Cannondale by Alessandro De Marchi who crossed the line solo. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 6, Benalmádena to La Zubia

Hola! Stage 6 continued through the heat of Andalucia. Something in the back of my mind thinks that this area is known as ‘the frying pan of Spain’. I’m sure someone can confirm this – certainly it must feel like it to the 198 riders who have survived so far. A long stage on the flat, passing arid, golden fields – even a dust plume – only to be rewarded with the nastiest climb right at the end in La Zubia. However, fans were rewarded with a phenomenal finish and a great win for Valverde. Astonishing stuff! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 5, Priego de Córdoba to Ronda

Hola! Stage 5 was a slower stage for the most part, travelling a meandering course inland to Ronda. All looked hot but relaxed and the stage progressed without incident until a sudden change of wind brought about a break from team Tinkoff Saxo. Then it all kicked off with a phenomenal sprint finish and a second win for John Degenkolb. As we say in the UK – ‘Phew, what a scorcher!’  Here are my drawings:

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