Nobody wanted to miss the start of the Tour in Bilbao

Look that Bilbao has organized great events in recent times. The 82 World Cup and the celebrations for the titles with the Gabarra are burned into the memory of the veterans. If we stop at the modern era, they have arrived Red Bull Cliff Diving, the Basketball World Cup with the United States Dream Team at the BEC, The World’s 50 best restaurants, the MTV Awards, a Sixers friendly, the European rugby finals… only the Eurocup because of the pandemic. Well, nothing can be matched, not even in the least, with the dimension of the Tour. An endless stream of fans gathered this morning at San Mamés from early in the morning to experience something unique: the Grand Départ of the gala round. Walking in a radius of half a kilometer from that central point of the start of the first stage was made materially impossible.

On a cloudy day but with an excellent temperature of 20 degrees, Tadej Pogacar, Mikel Landa, Jonas Vingeggaard, Ion Izagirre and Peter Sagan have been the most acclaimed by the crowd, who have taken the presentation for what it is, a unique event . “How can you go to Pike Bidea from here on foot?” Was the question most used by many followers, unaware that going from the center of the city to one of the hot spots of the day is an adventure in which you have to spend well over an hour and zigzagging and very steep final paths.

Countless familiar faces have crowded at the start of the stage. Seven have been in charge of cutting the protocol ribbon to inaugurate the neutralized start at 12:30 after an exciting countdown, surrounded by expectation: the director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme; the lehendakari, Inigo Urkullu; the mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto; the president of the UCI, david lappartient; the deputy general of Bizkaia, Elixabete Etxanobe; the spokesperson and counselor for Culture and Language Policy of the Basque Government, Bingen Zupiria; and Joane Somarribathe most successful Basque cyclist.

Step of the race in front of the Guggenheim
Step of the race in front of the GuggenheimBLOND JESUS

The sphere of politics was represented for the most part by representatives of the PNV, such as Andoni Ortuzar, Aitor Esteban, Pedro Aspiazu, Denis Itxaso and Josu Ercoreca. Jon Uriarte, the president of Athletic, has attended together with the manager Xabi Álvarez. There have been other rojiblancos leaders from the previous board, such as Mikel and Joana Martínez, as well as Jon Ander de las Fuentes. the excicists Samuel Sánchez, Purito Rodríguez, Alberto Contador and a true Tour winner like Óscar Peiriro, who has done some interviews, have not missed a detail. The same has happened with former lions now coaches Aitor Larrazabal, Cuco Ziganda and Patxi Salinas. The director of the Vuelta, Javier Guillén, is usually a regular at this type of event. Eneko Atxa, prestigious ‘triestrellado’ chef has shown all the glamor of him. He is the one who has designed the skewer for the race: the cod TOURtilla.

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And more politicians: Esther Martínez and Bea Fanjul from the PP, Eneritz de Madariaga from Elkarrekin Podemos, as well as many councilors from the Bilbao City Council, with special mention to Xabier Otxandiano, from the Area of ​​Economic Development, Commerce and Employment, one of the most active to bring the Tour closer to the city of the Guggenheim. The head of the list for the EH Bildu Congress for Bizkaia, Oskar Matute, has encouraged Basque citizens to take advantage of the “showcase” of the Tour to “demonstrate to the world that Euskal Herria lives cycling passionately and claims with the same strength and determination that we want to be a country that decides its future freely and democratically”.

The preamble to a stage that is going to be a party has been a roller coaster of sensations. “This can be experienced one day, repeating it many times in my career would be impossible for me,” launched Pello Bilbao full of excitement.

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