Package deals. Budget airlines. Dos cerveza por favor. During the race’s first week the Vuelta a España rolled through the streets of Marbella towards Caminito del Rey and the first uphill finish of the race. Fans lining the road were outnumbered by the beach bound holidaymakers nursing hangovers from having it large the night before; “Must be some sort of bike race, love? Did you pack the Rennie?”
A line from Tim Krabbé’s, The Rider, springs to mind. “Tourists and locals are watching from the sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me.”
It’s fair to say that each of the Grand Tours has its own mood, the Vuelta being one that riders tend to embrace after the intensity of the world watching on in July. That was certainly the case for David Millar, whose clothing company CHTP3 has just released this classy VueltaData jersey to pay homage to the race he opted for over the money making post-Tour criteriums scene back when he was racing.
It doesn’t scream the maker’s name, but there’s no mistaking where the jersey is from. It’s made from a high wicking fabric designed to keep the wearer dry and comfortable throughout their ride. Presumably this extends to the café as well. It isn’t going to claim to make you faster – aero isn’t always everything – but with seven sizes available, it is claiming to fit cyclists better.
CHPT3 has used warm colours on its familiar grey for the design. They say the design was inspired by a combination of David’s heart rate, watts, speed and distance from his last outing at the Vuelta in 2014, his last ever Grand Tour as a participant.
Maybe this is why the Vuelta a España resonates so deeply with Millar or maybe it’s because, since his retirement, he’s still a fan of a proper bike race: a bike race that those holidaymakers have already forgotten about.