The passage of the Tour through Euskadi brings great benefits to the Autonomous Community

The platoon crossed yesterday, after 4:30 p.m., the international bridge of Santiago in the border town of Irún and the political leaders of the Basque Country took a deep breath. The Security Advisor, Josu Erkoreka, was present at the Police Coordination Table. The bad taste had been overcome, for example, from the threat of a strike or forced medical leave from the Autonomous Police. His requests for a salary increase and modernization of means generated unexpected tension in the Basque Government. With the exception of the episode of the thumbtacks and the punctures, something undetectable by all accounts, the Tour of the Basque Country has been a success. People have enjoyed it a lot, although, logically and by population, it has not reached the figures that were given in Denmark.

There is talk of a direct outlay of close to 13 million euros, although other sources increase it by another two. The Executive had promised to pay about 9 and the rest was shared by the municipalities of Bilbao, San Sebastián and Vitoria and the Provincial Councils of Vizcaya, Guipúzcoa and Álava. The top leader of this last public institution commented yesterday that “if a Grand Départ is repeated in the future, we would like to be able to have an arrival in our province. Álava has enjoyed a start and barely 50 kms. layout. It is true that nine teams have spent the night in Vitoria with the consequent economic benefit. 21% of what the hotel industry earns goes directly to the Treasury. The Grand Départ was initially presented a few months ago at the Europa Palace in the capital of Alava.

It is estimated that the economic benefit and the impact is close to 100 million euros. Calculating that data always generates contradictions. When it comes to studying the hours of television, it cannot be done by multiplying by X what an advertisement usually costs, but it is true that the images that have been projected of the Basque Country, especially the aerial ones, have been wonderful. Even when the weather has not been good, towns, cities and roadsides have been seen full of fans and flags. The stature has been given and everyone has been quite satisfied. Yes, there have been veiled criticisms due to the feeling that the PNV has appeared too much in the photo, when it is all the Basque people who pay. They have not been too many or express because they did not want to break the magic that had been generated. But there have been.

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From a sporting point of view, the Basque runners have been acclaimed. Mikel Landa, Pello Bilbao, the Izaguirre brothers, Omar Fraile, Jonathan Castroviejo, Álex Aranburu and company have been overwhelmed by requests for photos and autographs. Some of them have paid for that pressure with unexpected loss of time. In Amorebieta, for example, some of them preferred to spend forever on the bus and today, in Dax, they have felt more comfortable. They have been attending to the media in all places but the normal thing is that now they do it more easily. They go unnoticed even though they are about to reach the Pyrenees, once again the territory of the Basque fans. The absence of conflicts has also been good news. Neither cuts, nor demonstrations nor very large outbursts.

Passage of the Tour de France It has been a kind of Strategic Plan to promote the Basque Country but it has also been dotted with suspicions since it coincided with the municipal and regional elections and, although it was not expected a priori, the Generals arrive on the 23rd. These circumstances always invite criticism of the ruling party. It is unavoidable, but most of the photos are for public officials, so the PNV has made a lot of money out of the event. Another thing is that later she had unexpected setbacks at the polls such as the fourth place in the Vitoria city council and that, after all the management, it was the mayoress of the Socialist Party who gave the initial starting signal. A little late, by the way. The peloton took off before he put it down. In the Prudhomme’s car was the Deputy General, of the PNV.

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