The Basques of Luz Ardiden. Drink the Kalimotxo.

Last year, on my first Tour, I heard alot about alarming things from people about the Basque fans. They were crazy, drunk out of their minds, throwing rocks at journalist’s cars, threatening riots, hooligans, idiots, obnoxious and boorish.

That’s quite a set of tags and I’ve found that in my experience so far, all wrong. I now make a point in the Pyrenees to find the groups of fans on the big climbs. They’re come to have fun, they’re having a fabulous time and I like the contact high.

Yesterday on Luz Ardiden I meet a bunch of young Basque fans. Yeah, they were boisterous that they were fully tapped into the experience. They cheer for all the riders, not just the home team Euskatel Euskadi. Sadly I don’t speak Spanish and the strange Basque language is hopeless for me.

But I found two guys that spoke broken English and one with French as rough as mine as we got along just fine. My handed me a large cup of what they call Kalimotxo — and what I would call the homemade Basque version of Red Bull — red wine mixed with coke. It wasn’t as good as my half bottle of French red but that was gone.

I asked them about the passion Basques have for cycling. That’s for a post and a Cyclesport article to come, but for now, check out these pictures. I’d headed to the Col d’Aubisque today and I will be looking for those orange t-shirts.

These are come of the photos I took of the Basque fans on Luz Arididan.

Kalimotxo

My two interpretors.

The group. Note the guy in the middle who arrived late.

Luz Ardiden. Such a romantic spot.

Pepe told me all about the Basque sporting culture.

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  • josu

    I´m glad you like our style!
    I was up there in Luz ardiden and I saw some pople that are at the photos.
    Sad I didn´t recognize you. I love this site.

    • Welcome Josu. Yes, I was the tall, skinny guy with the black baseball cap and maroon day pack walking up and down. I had a great day on Luz.

  • erlantz zuberogoitia

    Hi matt, excuse for my poor english, i am one of the interpretors, we passed a good time also. can you send me the pictures in colour?? thanks a lot matt!!
    Erlantz

    • Erlantz, thanks for writing in. Tell me more about where you were and who you were with. I met so many basque fans I'm losing track. I will send you the photos but no color — I was specifically shooting in grainy black and white — which is a nice look. Give me a day or two to send them. Matt

      • erlantz zuberogoitia

        we are from a little town called plentzia.our town is localizated in the basque coast . the interpretors were, iñigo redondo and erlantz zuberogoitia. If you want more information you can send me a email asking anything
        Erlantz

      • Thanks, man. WIll do. Matt

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