I went to see the ITT yesterday in Tavira, and it was a nice experience. I was positively surprised by the amount of people who turned out. First it wasn't that many but by the end there was quite a crowd. Granted, it was Sunday, but I had been to the ITT of Paris-Nice two years ago and there were very few people, so I wasn't expecting much at all.
We stood at the finish and the nice thing was that they had put the barriers really close together so you were very close to the riders. I had also been to the prologue of the Tour 2006 in Strasbourg, and there it had been large boulevards so if you were on the wrong side you were screwed.
Overall the organization seemed really good, except for the fact that they didn't have an announcer like in the French races. Also there was nothing that showed the time of the riders, so you were left guessing. In this particular case the suspense wasn't too high of course, but it would have still been nice to get some updates.
The ambiance was pretty good, especially when the local riders from the Tavira team came by. A lot of you will probably know this but I was surprised to see that basically none of the continental teams had TT bikes. Some of them had TT handlebars, a lot of them didn't even have those. I just thought I'd mention it so you consider that when you look at the results. The demographics of the spectators were quite mixed, a lot of old men but also children, both were making a lot of noice and having fun. Also some Dutch, Germans and mostly Brits, there seem to be a lot of Brits living in Tavira.
After the race, the ambiance at the winner's ceremony was quite good too, even though no Portuguese had won. Rui Costa was up there though and he had his fanclub along who made noise. I was very pleasantly surprised by Tony Martin. I had never seen him this up close and he seemed like a genuinely nice guy, joking on the podium with Kwiatkowski, and very friendly while talking to fans. Definitely seems like a top bloke.
Since this was such a small event, everything was very accessible too. A lot of riders walked right past us, such as Boaro for example and Nizzolo. Oliveira was driving the Radioshack team car afterwards, I think him and Zubeldia went and got it while they waited for Nizzolo and Azevedo.
Overall I had a great time and I am happy I went! People in this town were also very friendly, I had a good bifana sandwich but unfortunately no Super Bock
I will now post some pictures. I have a lot of them, unfortunately I rarely know which rider it was because I didn't have a startlist and most of them I don't recognize
I have a normal digital camera, nothing professional.