Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2014

From: Alasdair Fotheringham
Country: Spain
Conclusion: Overall, a well-organised race,, with the exception of the television coverage which was poor.

Pre-course info: fine. Website in Spanish and Catalan.

Accreditation: efficient from start to finish.

Press room signing: accurate, but often very limited ie, a few hundred metres before the finish.

Route book/general information: good, but the failure to place a sign for the press room on the maps of the finishes was annoying at best and confusing at worst. Placing the longitude/latitude in the route book, as sometimes happened, is not sufficient.

Working conditions at start/finish: worked out fine at the starts. Friendly and well-organised staff members at the finishes. However, the tendency of some members of the press to go into the podium bus and start their own unauthorised interviews inside there was a) extremely annoying for those of us who respected the rules b) messed things up for the press officer and made it harder for the stage winner to understand that a further interview was then needed. Maybe placing a member of the organisation at the foot of the stairs up to the bus could stop these intruders.

Post-stage interviews satisfactory. The leader and stage winner every day, which is what you need. The television in the mini-press room at the finish was very useful, and a pity it was not in its usual place the last day. However, having the final press conferences for the stage winner at Montjuic and the overall winner in the main press room was a good idea, although there were too many people in the Barcelona press room with no accreditation.

Live ticker: I didn’t use it, so I can’t comment.

Press room: worked well but  generally too small for the numbers of journalists on the race – although given the unusually high number of ‘big names’ on the race this year  the space issue was probably an exception. It was possible to find a spot and on the last day the organisation found another table to cope with the rush. Good to have drink and (even on the mountain stages) access to a cafeteria.

Results: were produced very quickly and in one stapled block – something other organisations should consider imitating.

Distance from the press room to the finish: invariably close.

Television coverage: It is obvious that nobody could do anything about a blizzard on the stage to Valterre, when thanks to the dreadful weather conditions the tv coverage disappeared completely. But the other days? Tv images were erratic, often misleading (particularly on the Montjuic stage) and sometimes blurry. Did not live up to good standards set by the rest of the race.

Wifi: Free. Very good with the exception of the last day where it was very patchy.

Parking: fine throughout.

General: a friendly, well-organised race, with no major complaints barring the television. Purely a personal suggestion, how about a medium length individual time trial next year to add a little bit more variety into the race?