I love chatting to cycling fans and there’s none better than Basque fans. Despite my lack of Basque and basic Spanish, we always seem to be on the same wavelength.
As this year’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco started in Etxebarria, the birthplace of Orica-GreenEGGER Amets Txurruka, and finished just up the road in Markina-Xemein, there was no better place to find some of his many fans.
These poppets from the local primary school were only too keen to show off their artwork supporting their favourite Basque rider. They’d been let out of school early to watch the race and provide that all-important wall of noise as the peloton swooped through Markina-Xemein twice before the finish. I suspect one or two of them were more interested in football than cycling, but anything for an afternoon out of the classroom!
In one of the local bakeries, which has the most delicious biscuits and great coffee, I found another Amets fan. Apparently, Amets frequently drops in for a coffee but never indulges in the baked treats. Anna, the lady behind the counter, proudly showed me the photo she’d taken of him with teammate Simon Gerrans when they’d popped in for breakfast on Sunday morning. She was so proud that Simon had complimented her on the baked goodies.
Simon, if only you hadn’t indulged, you might have been first, not third!
I think my face says it all in this pic. Close but no cigar. Some great riding by the… https://t.co/LjaAfc3nrm
— Simon Gerrans (@simongerrans) April 4, 2016
Header image: Txurru fans’ road markings © Sheree Whatley