So yesterday tens of thousands of sports fans were closely following events taking place here in the middle of the Alps. The 2018 UCI World Tour was taking place here the whole week and yesterday was the grand finale - men's Elite! And it was nuts! Take a seat and watch the "behind the scenes" of such event as you can't see everything on your screens.
The whole weekIt wasn't just one day. The races were taking place the whole weeks, all the various brackets and divisions were racing on different days. I'm all about sports and quite enjoyed it. Just the feeling that I'm riding my bike to work/university and in couple of hours, the professionals from around the world will be doing the same was just too cool to not enjoy. Also, all the barricades were permanent the whole week, so you really felt like a professional.
And the big final - Sunday men Elite race cameAnd the day was it awesome. Remember - we're in the middle of Alps here. It's mountains all around. And end of September. There was a snow here a week ago - no joke, I wanted to post about it but HF20 came :D Will probably post it tomorrow. But this Sunday, it was 23 degrees. Plain CRAZINESS!
Just a suupercalm chill day..who would say couple of streets next to this, guys are pushing on the limit of what's humanly possible
But streets indeed felt somewhat different....they were..emptier. One would actually think it's a ghost town if he couldn't hear screams over the buildings.
Ok, I admit, at this point I'm just promoting Innsbruck as a travel destination. But hey, it actually is a travel destination and one of the most beautiful towns in the world. So don't think about it twice and come over to visit me till I'm here :) I feel I won't be staying here longer than one more year :)
Tram rails - student enemy n. 1 here in InnbruckYepp, we hate them more than teachers :D Why? Well, 90% of students living in Innsbruck ride a bike. It's cheap, it's fast and the scenery while riding a bike is just too awesome to take a bus. But there are these trams and their rails..And once your front wheel gets stuck into the rail as you're crossing it, you know what's gonna happen...
I've learned it hard way in 2016 :/..
So I was wondering whether 50% of riders will die here this year :D Nope, they covered the rails for them! I secretly hoped they'll keep them on even after the race but I was (of course) wrong :D
ShopsAnother interesting point I've noticed was that the whole week, some foods were all out in every shop. It was mostly salmon a pizza. I guess now we know what cyclists eat post-race :D
Cut the BS and let's get to the raceOk ok...so I've decided to head the direction where the race was. That means..everywhere :D I mean..not literally but almost :D
But of course, the city centre and the square were where the magic was happening. The sight of this was jut unbelievable. Not only those beautiful old buildings with amazing mountains in the background...but suddenly, the barrage of screaming people everywhere.
And languages...I could here sooo many languages! I'd never say so many foreigners would come over just because of cycling :D
Peloton arrivedThis was soooo crazy. They go so fast!! I was almost praying so that none of them falls.
And then, 2nd "peloton" full of service cars came :D At that moment I was sure someone's gonna die as the cars were racing just couple of meters from all those spectators. They really go much faster than it appears on TV.
Then I changed my place to less crowded one so I could take some pictures of cyclists. Here are some of them, but it was more difficult that I've thought.
Slovak hope aka Peter SaganWell, as some of you might know, I'm actually from Slovakia. And as some of you might know, last 3 years the winner was a fellow slovakian - Peter Sagan. He's become a fan favorite and no wonder that the town was full of his fans and Slovak flags! It felt as if we conquered the town for a while :D
And then, the man himself showed up. Sadly, he later dropped from the race as there was no chance to win for him, but he's already made the history in the previous 3 years. Here's my picture of him passing by, but I think that kid with a school calculator could make better picture than I did :/ :D
Fans and behind the scenesWell, the fight for the best places was tough. Some people were lucky enough to get into buildings and have better view than most of the others.
And some were even more clever and paid a ticket to the city tower right above the square and probably had the best view ever :D Maybe some people up in the mountains with binoculars had better tho :D
As there were quite long breaks between peloton and different groups passing, there were many standup bufets, selling totally overpriced prosecco and probably having business of their life :D But as long as customers are happy, everything's fine I guess. And they did look happy.
There were also many many "fan zones" around the town with the big screens showing what's going on. These were also the places where lot of beer was being served and drunk. But I have to honestly I haven't seen single one drunk person the whole day. It's kinda interesting, compared to what e.g. football world championships look like.
Sweetest part of the whole dayMy personal highlight happened towards the end of the race. As the policemen approached the barricades because the leading group was about to pass us, one young boy just fell in love with this policewoman. She was trying to work and pay attention to the surroundings but he had none of it :D He was constantly talking to her. I didn't want to interrupt their moments, but somehow managed to squeeze in one picture of this cute forming new relationship :)
Love on the first sight it was :)
It's not just fun & gamesObviously, an event of such magnitute causes a lot of hustle as well. Commuting and in general, the transport across the town was literally dead :D What usually takes me 5 minutes was like 20 minutes, trying to get across the barricades etc.
People were waiting in lines on their turn to cross the street. In the city centre, it took me 13 minutes to get on the other side :D
If you don't believe these pictures, I'll let you into my private messages real quick. This is a friend of mine who couldn't care less about the race. She was in the centre to get her coffee and on her way back, this is what she sent me :DD
Also, usually empty Sunday streets were full of cars, waiting in almost jams or in general the slow traffic. Oh, you're looking for a free parking space? Hah, good luck!
Sooo...and that was the 2018 USI World Championship by eyes of an insider :) I hope that I provided you with kinda cool and different insight into such big event. It truly was a spectacular day and I'm pretty happy I was here to witness all this. Hopefully my poor photography skills are enough to pass at least some of this experience to you as well! :)