Tour de France in Spain


Barcelona was an inspired choice for a Tour visit. The weather was more than a little unkind but spectators still turned out in numbers to see David Millar attempt to keep the pack at bay through the streets of the capital of Catalunya.

Rather a shame they didn’t manage to squeeze many of the city’s cultural landmarks into the route. The race finally returns to France on Saturday after the Andorra stage. Only Switzerland and Italy left to tick off the itinerary after that.


Not only did those good folk at the Guardian choose this week to publish a series of Spanish phrasebooks, but Wednesday’s edition featured a sport and culture special, just in time for the Tour in Barcelona.

Now we know that the Spanish for rugby is el rugby, tennis is el tennis and cycling is el ciclismo, we’re thinking it shouldn’t take too long to get the hang of the lingo at that rate.

Should anyone fire off any questions in our direction in Spanish, however, we will resort to the standard reply learned off-by-heart: “No soy muy deportista” – I’m not very sporty.


As the latest Cycling Weekly correspondent to take up the baton and pilot the team car until Mr Birnie takes over after the Pyrenees, I have been slightly disappointed by the apparent uptake on the ‘Touch the Skoda’ competition.

Leaving aside the vaguely smutty title of our little prize-winning opportunity, where are the hordes of CW readers taking snaps while fondling the motor? Are they sneaking up in the dead of night and using flash photography to record their deeds? Waiting until we have moved away from the vehicle and turned the corner before sidling over surreptitiously and taking a passing shot?

Perhaps the name of the competition needs sprucing up a bit: something a bit more rock’n’roll. How about a Doors-inspired ‘Come on baby, touch my Skoda’? A Springsteen-esque ‘Strap your hands across my Skoda’?

Maybe not. All I know is the Spanish woman I implored to make contact with the bonnet for posterity’s sake moved away sharpish whilst gesturing with her little finger, which (according to The Guardian’s phrasebook) means ‘He is soooo thin’, despite being the universally acknowledged insult indicating a less than impressive manhood. Can’t win ‘em all.

Anyway, don’t be shy. Roll up, snap away and give us a wave. Next stop, Andorra.