1982. Reynolds. Professional cyclist and his first Vuelta.
In February, his debut as a professional rider with the Reynolds Team was in the Vuelta a la Costa Azahar in the province of Castellón.
He would become restless as the roads went uphill and would try to win the King of the Mountains competition, «the mountain passes weren’t very steep but I always had to give them a try». As the season went by, Pedro became more familiar with the way professionals rode.What he most feared were the stages which lasted over 180 kms, not to mention those of 200 or 240 kms.
|His first victory as a professional Clásica Zaragoza Sabiñañigo.|
Pedro thought he knew what suffering on a bicycle was from his experience as a junior and amateur, but he then realised that that had been nothing more than extra physical effort. «When you are a pro, you ride at such a fast pace that you have to stay on the wheel of the rider in front, more like on his back, otherwise you get dropped. When the pace is on, it’s every man for himself»
And then came his first Tour of Spain where he learned the trade of domestique for his team mate, Angel Arroyo. The latter became the leader on the 10th stage of the race and the objective was for him to remain in the yellow jersey until he reached Madrid where the Tour of Spain was to finish.
«With three weeks of competition, this Tour of Spain was really hard for me; if one day I finished badly, the next day was even worse. I didn’t get better and I felt like I was in a hole which I’d never get out of. My directeur sportif, José Miguel Echávarri, was reserving me, as a climber and someone familiar with the terrain to help the leader on the penultimate stage of the Tour which included four 1st category mountain passes and finished in Segovia. I felt privileged to be chosen but already on the second mountain pass (Canencia) which was the least difficult, I was dropped from the peloton. So, without being able to help anyone and completely worn out, I got to the finish line 20 minutes down on the first rider. My body just couldn’t obey what my heart wanted to do».
However the season went on and in his first year as a pro, he garnered 3 victories, the most important being the Spanish Classic, Zaragoza-Sabiñánigo. Besides, he was 3rd in the San Sebastián Classic.
All through this year, Pedro continued to study nursing but finally decided to give it up, «I neither studied nor trained enough; as a professional you have to train an average of 4 hours a day or even more and I also needed the sun to do so. For my studies I had to do nursing practice at the hospital and as I couldn’t put in enough time, I finally decided to give up my studies and try my fortune full time in cycling. I also thought that if it didn’t work, I could always go back to my studies a couple of years later».