You might think a rest day would afford the riders a chance to recuperate, replenishing their energy and enthusiasm to get back in the saddle and sally forth. But it’s a funny thing, that rest day: it sometimes leads to mental and physical breakdowns on the first day back. No one really understands why some riders benefit from a day off and others don’t; all we know is that it adds an extra variable to an already-complicated and difficult race.
The fact that the race course is mostly flat should help, although there is a Category 3 climb leading to a Category 1 finishing climb that will be tough. We’ll just have to see how the peloton sorts itself out on Tuesday.
Stage Ten’s departure point is Caravaca de la Cruz, a holy city that is celebrating its Jubilee year in 2017. What does that mean? Tourists from all around Europe will visit this medieval town to participate in religious festivals, art exhbitions, concerts, and sporting events (the Vuelta being just one.) One of the main attractions is the Cruz de Caravaca, a cross that dates to the Middle Ages. You can learn more about the pilgrimage of the faithful in the video below:
The Bullas DO
Designated in 1994, the DO comprises nine wine-producing villages: Bullas, Mula, Ricole, Cehegin, Lorca, Pliego, Caravaca, Moratalla, and Calasparra. Of these towns, Bullas boasts the highest altitudes in Murcia province, a plus in this hot, dry countryside. In all, there are more than 200 wineries here, most of which devote their efforts to red wines from the Monastrell grape (aka Mourvèdre) although there are patches of Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Cabernet Sauvignon scattered about. Some white wine is made from Macabeo and Airén.
To give you a visual image of the natural beauty of this part of southeastern Spain, I’ve included a video on Bullas’s “Secret Wine.” Transport yourself to this corner of paradise for a few minutes – enjoy!
We’ll meet up to discuss Wednesday’s race through the rocky province of Almeria. Viva la Vuelta!