You’re viewing a version of this story optimized for slow connections. To see the full story click here.

Vuelta finale 2017

On the road with Karen M. Edwards, embedded with Aqua Blue Sport

Story by Soigneur September 12th, 2017

RENOWNED PHOTOGRAPHER KAREN M. EDWARDS IS EMBEDDED WITH IRISH AQUA BLUE TEAM AS THEY MAKE THEIR GRAND TOUR DEBUT AT THE VUELTA A ESPAÑA.

SOIGNEUR CAUGHT UP WITH HER on the day after the vuelta finale.

DSC_0938.jpg
DSC_0307.jpg
DSC_0495.jpg
DSC_0518 (1).jpg

Stage 16 > TT LOS ARCOS - LOGROÑO

DSC_0759.jpg
DSC_0323.jpg
DSC_0993.jpg
DSC_0648.jpg
DSC_0652.jpg

stage 17 > VILLADIEGO - LOS MACHUCOS

Aqua Blue’s Stefan Denifl took a momentous stage win on stage 17 to Los Machucos – what was your experience of the day?

In the morning I got a few shots of the start, nothing too exciting but when Stef came across to us that morning, well, we always get a feeling from the riders if they’re going to have a good day. I went in the soigneurs’ car and managed to get to the finish.

The climbs were amazing that day, they were like walls one after the other.

I ‘d heard that Stef was in the break so I walked two hundred metres back down from the finish line because I wanted to get a shot of him coming, around that last bend. I got the shots but then had a bit of hassle with four policemen, ended up walking in deep mud just to get back to the finish line. All the buses and cars had got stuck further down the hill, so there weren’t many people around.

The minute I got there I was all over Stef, getting lots of shots. He couldn’t stop smiling. Every time one of our riders came in I was telling him that we won. When Rick, the owner, came in it was just an incredible atmosphere. Everyone was so happy, it was hard to take it in.

DSC_0575.jpg
DSC_0556.jpg
DSC_0686.jpg
DSC_0054 (1).jpg
DSC_0093.jpg
DSC_0245-2.jpg
DSC_0320.jpg
DSC_0045.jpg

stage 18 > SUANCES - SANTO TORIBIO DE LIÉBANA

DSC_0942.jpg
DSC_0207-2.jpg
DSC_0965.jpg
DSC_0289-2.jpg
DSC_0395.jpg
DSC_0416.jpg
DSC_0036.jpg

What was the feeling on the team when you finally got to Madrid?

Adam (Blythe) was hoping for the win. There were a lot of tired bodies, but we could see the lads were up there, doing their turns to get him into the right position. It just didn’t work out, that’s how it goes.

It was a relief to get it all over, that all the lads made it, apart from Larry Warbasse. We didn’t have a massive party or anything. We were staying about 50km outside Madrid so we all went to a beautiful little local restaurant for a meal. It was all very low-key. A lot of people were travelling early in the morning, so there wasn’t much dancing on the tables.

DSC_0232.jpg

STAGE 19 > CASO - GIJÓN

DSC_0024.jpg

WHAT WAS YOUR HIGHLIGHT OF THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE?

I’ve got to say Stef’s win. That feeling of a small team, a team with so many setbacks, winning a Grand Tour stage, was just beyond belief.

AND YOUR LOWLIGHT? WHEN YOU WERE AT YOUR LOWEST EBB?

There was one particular evening when I didn’t get good photos, and I just felt so low. That’s when I get low - when I feel like I haven’t nailed it. But that was just one day, overall it was an incredible experience. To see the race from inside the team, and to share it with them was something I’ll never forget.

DSC_0030.jpg
DSC_0064 (1).jpg
DSC_0022.jpg
DSC_0133.jpg
DSC_0396.jpg

stage 20 > CORVERA - ANGLIRU

DSC_1338.jpg
DSC_0470.jpg
DSC_0202.jpg
DSC_0183 (1).jpg

stage 21 > ARROYOMOLINOS - MADRID

DSC_0007.jpg
DSC_0173.jpg
DSC_0351.jpg
DSC_1752.jpg
Footnote: Photos by Karen M. Edwards > Insta: @karenm.edwards. Text by Paul Maunder. With special thanks to Team Aqua Blue Sport.
Vuelta 2017