And suddenly it’s all over. Six stages , 15 teams, 5 different hotels, 10 foreign teams, 5 Iranian teams, 15 yellow cabs, 15 green vans, a lot of non-English speaking guides, one very good English speaking guide (Ali, the machine), shimano 105 from the Georgians, chemicals from the TPT team, farsi on the tour radio, and a lot of other crazy, hilarious, less good and fantastic things.
We started with 4 riders in our team but only Casper made it till the end. Sascha wanted to spare himself and his knee for the Precidency Tour so he skipped the last 2 stages. Lex decided to have a little ride with our team car while the judges were driving behind him, so he was out. Jan already got really far into the tour, but the last hills killed his final strength, and the broom wagon got him home.
After we said goodbye to Janneke and Casper, we went to the closing ceremony to celebrate the winners and the end of the tour, right? No big things, just a little get-together. But nothing like this.
Iranians love long and big talks. They will thank everybody, but literally everybody. Even the guy who fell of his (motor)bike came on stage to receive an applause…because of the lack of injured cyclist? The ceremony was too long, and too boring. A pity, because it had nice elements, but you just shouldn’t let the choir sing for half an hour, then have some sad looking Iranian pop star singing a sad song for another 20 minutes, and have all, but literally all organisers, friends and volunteers get on stage. (and all this in farsi, I remind you).
After 2 hours we finally celebrated the winners. “do they do it like this in Europe as well?” somebody asked me. Hmm, not quite (I think).
So we say goodbye and many thanks to all the people in Tabriz. But without the handshake! Because even if they’ve seen us without the headscarf, even after we shouted at the guys, and even after being very ‘un-Iranian’ in our behaviour, the codes of conduct are still valid.
With all the riders we continue our journey to Teheran, where another stage race is awaiting us. This time we stay in the same hotel for a whole week. It’s not the fancy and eloquent home like we had in Azerbaijan, and it’s not the grubby old beds from Kaheybar. It’s just a room with a few beds and a beautiful view of the city, if the smog doesn’t get too thick
On Tuesday the tour will start with a fresh team and a prologue of 8 km’s. After that we’ll have 3 stages and one criterion, all in and around Teheran. I won’t be there all the time, because I will go on a short holiday with my friends from Teheran. But first I’ll have to make sure that our new team (Jan Koelmans, Lex Nederlof, Sascha Damrow, Robin Puls and Vincent Ang) get’s on the road.