Early assumptions suggested a burst water main. Reports on the scene point to a hose malfunction for a local resident. Either way, a small stream flowing across the road at the run in to a left-hand bend saw four Jumbo Visma riders domino into the barriers.
Bikes were broken. Riders were scuffed. Minor carnage ensued.
The favourites to win this opening team time trial already forty seconds down, after a mere several dozen pedal strokes of this three-week race, to Astana and their man Migger Lagga Lopez.
I don’t want to cast aspersions on the honesty of any eye witnesses, but could there have been a more, well…Costa Blanca explanation for the incident.
Am I the only one picturing some thick-necked British tourist, wending his way from the bar with fifteen pints of Carling on a tiny tray, going arse-over-tit? Was the water, in fact, cheap lager? And would, as I suspect, a more premium lager have offered better grip to the Jumbo Visma tyres?Embed from Getty Images
I guess we’ll never know.
Torrevieja is prime Brits-abroad real estate; home to a greater concentration of British ex-pats that any other town in Spain. I’ve never had the pleasure. I would love to say the TV coverage today offered a vista to tempt even the most sceptical potential holidaymakers (me) to pay a visit.
Let’s just leave that there, before I descend into snobbishness.
Jumbo, of course, can count themselves extremely unfortunate. But this is all part of a Grand Tour. Not a stream in the road, necessarily, but mishap and misfortune and the avoiding of it. Staying upright is crucial.
I can imagine team leader Primoz Roglic seeking out the aforementioned thick-necked lager drinker, post stage, before a quick visual comparison of upper body strength saw him wander off, pent up aggression remaining pent up.
At the risk of hugely oversimplifying the situation he’d do well to deliver that aggression out on the road, on the attack, and gaining time. Truth is he’s now on the back foot.
Astana’s Lopez can climb with the very best. Roglic is perhaps already thinking ahead to the thirty-six-kilometre time trial on Stage 10 where he might launch his comeback.
Ironically, there is water to pass under the bridge before then.Embed from Getty Images
Stage 2 will see a hilly couple of hundred kilometres from Benidorm to Calp; a popular winter training destination that will feel home from home for many riders.
In a race that can be relied on to deliver drama #gardenhosegate has staked an early claim for the headlines.
It’s peak Vuelta.
(Image: SullivanVan [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D)