Race Report from Stage One of the new ‘Tour de Cymru’
‘Hi cycling fans, it’s Phil Leggitt here, and I’m reporting on the first stage of the brand new ‘Tour de Cymru’, 2014 edition. It’s a multi stage race around the beautiful but often neglected country called Wales (where apparently people speak something called Welsh – that’s what Cymru means, I’m told).
Stage one, on Sunday, January 19th, is from the seaside city of Swansea, which some some poet bloke called an ‘ugly, lovely town’. Others have termed it a ‘pretty, shitty city’, which I’m more inclined to agree with after staying in one of the beachfront B&Bs!
After the Grand Depart from the Stade de Liberte, the snaking route goes up through some stunning towns, including Morriston, Clydach and Pontardawe and the world famous Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen – better know to cycling fans across the world as GCG. After that the route takes the riders to the historic towns of Ammanford, Llandybie and Fairfach – not quite making it to Llandeilo.
The route then heads back through Cross Hands, where apparently, in a break from tradition for multiple stage races, there will be a cafe stop in the award winning 5* Cafe McDonalds. The route then passes through Llannon and the breathtaking Pontarddulais before heading back to Swansea.
No doubt the streets will be thronging with cheering cycling fans shouting stuff in Welsh that no-one will understand!
Anyway, that’s enough of the background, I’ll hand you over to our man on the ground, the ever enthusiastic Ned Belting.’
‘Thanks Phil! It was a short route today so we expected some fast riding and boy did we get it!
The sizeable peloton stayed together until Pontardawe, where a small group conspired to break away after the famous ‘Ponty Climb’. No doubt chasing intermediate sprint points the group weren’t seen again until the cafe stop. And probably would have stayed away until a dramatic sprint to the finish line if it hadn’t been for the lure of strong coffee and burgers!
Once the peloton was back together, the pace subsided until the famous ‘Rollercoaster Road’ where the group split once again. The pace of some of these guys is just phenomenal, Phil. And one of them was even a girl! Back to you, Phil!’
‘Thanks for that, Ned! Those guys just keep digging deep into their suitcases of courage, don’t they! As of yet we don’t have any news of the winner, but we’ll keep you posted.’
One rider, who declined to be named, commented: ‘That’s the first time I’ve ever been out with such a fast peloton. Some of the sprinting was insane! After getting dropped and left behind a few times I had a rethink and decided that maybe competitive knitting would be more my thing. You won’t see me again anytime soon!’
‘It’s Phil again, just to say that’s all for now from the Tour de Cymru. Look out for our next report from Stage Two, a 300km circular route starting and finishing in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch. Can’t wait to see the podium girls with that on their t-shirts! Bye for now!’