Spectators pack Torrevieja streets for the first stage of 'La Vuelta'

THE main streets of Torrevieja packed with thousands of spectators to witness for themselves the excitement and spectacle that is the Tour of Spain cycle race on Sunday.

The first stage was on Saturday in Benidorm, just to warm up the riders, while Stage 2 from La Nucia to Orihuela Costa, was a 175.5 km race that took the riders and entourage through the City of Salt.

Although the race leader opened up a 20-second gap, for the most part, with the riders all bunched together and forming one long snake from second to last spot, the race portion took the best part of two minutes at the most to pass the spectators on route, followed by the team cars, police and support services.

Going through Torrevieja and on to end of the stage in Playas de Orihuela, came down to the sprinters teams pushing forward on the mostly flat and fast roads as HTC-Highroad threw six riders on the front and lined out the peloton for the next ten kilometres.

Cancellara and Fuglsang moved in taking the front in the final 5 km, but it was team SKY who got control of the peloton leading into the final kilometre to launch their man Chris Sutton for the win.

It was a fun and colourful event, even if the action was extremely short compared to the build up for the event, something similar to a first round knock out in a world title bout. However, not everyone was happy with the event, apart from the drivers who had to wait for ten minutes for the race and support crews to pass.

Looking for political advantage, the  spokesman for the PSOE Angel Sanz said that the Tour of Spain was  waste of money bringing it to Torrevieja.

Last week, Sanz also complained about the new Fairground, actions that the ruling PP party have dismissed by stating that the PSOE is a party in decline in Torrevieja, having had their worst ever election results in Torrevieja with the loss of over 3,000 votes at the last election.

Deputy Mayor Joaquín Albaladejo, said that “Snr Sanz was, ignoring the positive impact that the tour brought to Torrevieja, with an evening of  prime time TV News on TVE, at no cost to city coffers.”

He continued “it is understood that Mr. Saez strongly criticized the very fact that a stage of the Tour came through Torrevieja, however he does not do the same to criticize the Government of Spain, Mr. Zapatero and Pérez Rubalcaba, for not creating a National Police Station in Torrevieja!”

Albaladejo also announced that the Diputación de Alicante, through its Tourism Board, is already examining the possibility of hosting a stage in Torrevieja for the next edition of the 2012 Tour of Spain, again without it having any financial impact on municipal funds.

The race continues until September 11. The official site for the Tour of Spain is www.lavuelta.com which is presented in English, Spanish and French.

By Keith Nicol

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