This week and next Sandy has challenged us challenged us to Foto post about SOMETHING LEARNED recently or during the last year. However, if we’re stuck for inspiration on the Friendly Friday Challenge, feel free to “Make up our own Holiday” and post about it.
I’ll be honest, I’ve already written at length about the things I’ve learned while being at home during the past year and I’m reluctant to do so again largely because there are no biggies. Life is one big learning experience and I try, lockdown or otherwise, to always remain in learning mode. This leaves me with “Make up my own Holiday! Again, all these “special” days rather fall on stoney ground as far as I’m concerned. For example, today in National Spinach Day – I rest my case. I don’t embrace any of them and hence don’t even want to invent one of my own. All of which rather leaves me with something of a dilemna for the next two weeks. What to do?
I’m turning to my inbox for inspiration and some fabulous news which landed there this morning. The 2023 Tour de France is starting in Bilbao! Yes, I know it’s some way off, consequently I’m much more likely to be there in person.
Race organisers ASO have confirmed that the 110th edition of the Tour de France will start in Bilbao, 31 years since the last Spanish Grand Départ in 1992 from San Sebastian.
An agreement is said to have been reached by Bilbao and race organisers ASO, with €10 million reportedly set aside to fund the event, and newspaper El Correo reporting that talks began in 2016 when Christian Prudhomme visited the city as the Vuelta a Espana passed through. The first two stages , and the start of the third, are expected to take place in the Basque region before the race moves back over the border into France.
Rolling out from the city on 1 July 2023, the French Grand Tour will have back-to-back starts outside France following the planned Grand Départ from Copenhagen this year pushed back to 2022 because of the delayed European Football Championships. The last time this happened was in 2014 and 2015 when Yorkshire and Utrecht respectively hosted the start of the race.
El Correo says the return of the Basque Country to the Vuelta in 2011 after a 33-year- absence was the first step in returning the biggest bike races regularly to the region’s roads. The last Spanish Grand Départ in 1992 saw Miguel Induraín win the opening prologue en route to his second of five successive yellow jerseys.
It’s worth remembering that, apart from visits to Pyrenean stages scheduled in France, nine Spanish cities have hosted Tour starts or finishes. Bilbao will become the tenth in 2023 on the Tour’s 120th birthday.
In its inaugural edition in 1903, there were no Spanish riders taking part though they have gone on went on to leave their mark on the Tour de France by providing seven winners and taking 12 titles in total. In addition, 21 Basque riders have won Tour stages, not bad for a region which only provides 5% of the Spanish population.
Aside from our presence, one other thing is certain: the Basque cycling fans can be relied upon to animate these stages with their usual fervour, turning the Pyrenean landscape red, green and white (the colours of the Ikurrina – Basque flag) not forgetting the orange of the jersey of local cycling team Euskaltel-Euskadi. The fans will be hoping that riders such as Alex Aranburu, Ibon Ruiz or even Inigo Elosegui will have an opportunity to shine on their home territory.
This year the girls are are opening up the challenge, making its focus not purely on photography but making it a little more varied, a little more open and interesting.
Are you joining in this year? Go on……you know it’ll be fun!