Doing the Vuelta a España with 24 hours notice: Floris De Tier’s race from the Tour of Denmark in the Netherlands

UTRECHT, Netherlands (VN) – On the morning of the first stage of the Vuelta a España 2022, Alpecin-Deceuninck rider Floris De Tier woke up not in Utrecht, but 700 kilometers away in a hotel in Danish airport.

It wasn’t a bad dream, it was a surprise reality. His team-mate Oscar Riesebeek had crashed during training Wednesday morning in the Netherlands, suffering a broken thumb and a dislocated finger, and they needed a quick replacement.

Advance From Tier. The Belgian was taking part in stage 3 of the Tour of Denmark on Thursday when he heard the news. “The last 15 miles they asked me on the race radio to stop,” he said. BikeNews. “I asked the team car why and they said ‘tomorrow you’re doing the Vuelta’.”

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“It was a little stressful to know, of course. Moreover, it was a long day there – 240 kilometers, and it was after 220 kilometers that I found out.

The plan was made. He dropped out of the race and headed for the team bus. Then De Tier was taken to Billund airport, slept in a hotel overnight and flew at six o’clock to Amsterdam Schipol. Barely well rested for a big tour.

It also required a logistical reshuffling. While he had his Tour of Denmark clothes with him, an Alpecin-Deceuninck car drove to the Netherlands and another to Denmark, picked up their respective bikes and headed towards Utrecht.

It was more unwanted drama for the team this summer, which pulled out of the Tour of Poland in early August after five cases of COVID-19 from team personnel.

A surprise selection

De Tier, 30, was on the team’s shortlist and altitude training camp ahead of the Vuelta. When he was not selected, he became one of two reserves. Nevertheless, the late call came as a shock.

“It’s not in your head when you go to Denmark that you will be asked to go to the Vuelta,” he said.

This also affected the TTT preparation of Alpecin-Deceuninck. Their original squad trained at Circuit Zolder without De Tier and the man he replaced, Oscar Riesebeek, is 20 centimeters taller. This meant a different aerodynamic CdA to consider and a change in order.

De Tier arrived in Utrecht in time to start the opening TTT. Photo: Alpecin-Deceuninck

The Belgian-registered team finished 15th in Stage 1, 1:03 behind winners Jumbo-Visma. Given the Danish miles in his legs, it’s no surprise that the opening test was tough for De Tier. He lost more than two minutes to his teammates.

“It was a little tough,” he said. “The TTT is also very stressful.”

Now that he’s here unexpectedly, what’s his job for the race? “I drive 100% for the team. If they say tomorrow, ride all day on the front for Tim Merlier, I do. Maybe I work a little for Jay Vine on the climbs, we’ll see what the team says. I will do my job.

De Tier has finished all three editions of the Vuelta a España he has started, but this sort of thing has never happened to him before. The domestic faces the prospect of a three and a half week bike race.

“It’s not like another one-day race, it’s a big lap,” he said, appearing to accept his change of plans. “It’s really special. I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life.

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