With the Tour de France getting started, I thought it was about time to write something again. I am currently participating in the ‘Tour du Comeback’. This tour is not the nicest race I have ever done, but I have tried to make the best of it. And actually, now I am making steps towards the right direction, it is giving me a lot of satisfaction.
My tour started in the Netherlands and after a short test of my knee in the hills I went back to Girona, to start riding again in the area I like. During the injury I decided to start looking for my own apartment in the old town, with result! I have found a place in the middle of the Historic Centre of Girona. This Centre has its charms and is full of history. I am living now next to the Historic City Wall, built by the Romans in the 9thcentury and after some renovation it is still protecting Girona! So, I am now fully settled in Girona and it feels more and more like home.
Training in Girona is good, but warm during the summer. Actually, it helps me adapting to the heat, which will help me in the upcoming races. The training roads in Girona are very various, you can ride flat, in the hills, in the mountains and very important for Dutchies, you can ride across the ocean! I prefer riding towards Parc Montseny, where you can ride till 1700 metres (El Turó de l’Home) and where the views are stunning. Furthermore, the coastal road from Sant Feliu de Guíxols towards Tossa de Mar is one of my favorites.
To bring some more variety in my tour, I decided to make a trip towards the Pyrenees. The Pyrenees are about 70k from Girona, so it is easy to get there by bike.
The first stage was a tough and long one from Girona to Font-Romeu in France (185k with 3700 meters of climbing but luckily with full headwind). The route took me over La Molina, the climb I should have done in the Volta Catalunya 2015, but I never made it. It was the day I had crashed just before the climb, I pulled out of the race and it was the start of my retirement from Professional Cycling. Coming back here made me realize how happy I am with the second change I have got from Team LottoNL-Jumbo to make it back into Professional Cycling.
After the descent of La Molina I met a local guy on a scooter, asking me all the time if I was George (Bennett). I tried to explain him in English (since my Spanish is not that good) that I wasn’t George and after he finally understood me (since his English was not that good), he still offered me some motor pacing towards Font-Romeu.
I stayed the night with friends in an apartment in Font-Romeu. The next day I rode towards Ax-Les-Thermes in France. In the valley of Ax-Les-Thermes you can choose between seven climbs, so it is the Walhalla for climbers!
My ‘Tour du Comeback’ will finish with an altitude camp with the team. As last year, this year’s camp will be in the town of cows, called Kühtai. I am looking forward being a part of the team and actually start racing again. The 29thof July is red circled on my calendar, that day I will be a part of the bunch again in the London Prudential Ride.
So, I hope you’ve liked reading about my ‘Tour du Comeback’. Next time I will make sure I can write a blog about a real race again. Cannot wait!