Every year the Volta á Portugal, the Portuguese equivalent of the Tour de France, passes our house in the stage that starts or finishes at Oliveira do Bairro. A couple of weeks earlier, the Volta a´Portugal do Futuro, for new racing cyclists, passes on the same route. This afternoon, we were delighted to see the race go by. Each year I try to find a new place to record the race from, so this year I headed to the bridge over the A1 motorway to see what the vantage would be like.
It was a great spot. After waiting for 10 minutes or so, I heard the sirens from the police motorcycles that accompanied the riders. Soon the first of the riders went past, leading the main pack by 2-3 minutes, at least. This was followed soon after by a smaller bunch of rides and then the main pack. I was so close to the action that I could feel the breeze from the riders as they passed me by. After the racers came the team cars, decked out with their colours and logos, and drawing up the rear an ambulance, just in case there were any injuries.
Once the ambulance had gone by, I thought that was the end of the race, and headed home. On approaching the roundabout near the office, I noticed that the policeman holding up the traffic to allow the riders to go through was still there, listening intently on his radio. I thought there were more riders to come, and sure enough a few stragglers came along. Once the policeman moved away from the roundabout I new that for me, the race was over. Next up, on the 5th August, is the big race, the Volta á Portugal. I’ll be there for that one, too.