He’s also a really nice guy, the kind you want to ride next to because he makes you laugh. He’s taking it easy today, which is appreciated because it’s clear that if he stepped on the gas, things would get very intense, very fast. You’d like to think you could hang on, and maybe you could for a few minutes, especially with help from that fantastic draught. But deep down you know that eventually he’d hit his stride and achieve a velocity that mere mortals aren’t able to maintain. And that would be that.
But putting the pedal to the metal isn’t on today’s agenda. “I love this,” he says, his smile bright underneath those big sunglasses. “We have a coffee, we go for a relaxed ride and then we have a very, very nice lunch.” That’s another thing about the pros – they always have their next meal in mind.
The light pace makes it easy to take in the scenery, and Girona does not disappoint. We have the roads all to ourselves as we cut a path between green fields fading to brown in the warm Catalonian sunshine. There are mountains in the distance, but we won’t be tackling them today. Instead, we keep to the foothills, dipping occasionally into wispy forest, before pausing by the emerald waters of Lago de Bañolas for a refuelling break.