Cycling-After finishing 10th Vuelta, Spaniard Mate rides 1,000km home

FILE PHOTO: Cycling - The 104th Tour de France cycling race - The 101-km Stage 13 from Saint-Girons to Foix, France - July 14, 2017 - Cofidis rider Luis Angel Mate of Spain before the start. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

(Reuters) - After racking up 3,500km in finishing his 10th Vuelta de Espana last weekend Luis Angel Mate could have been excused a few days off but instead has opted to cycle another 1,000km home.

The 37-year-old who rides for the Euskaltel–Euskadi team finished 30th overall in the three-week slog that finished on Sunday in the north west city of Santiago de Compostela.

Now he is back in the saddle, 'bike-packing' his way to his home on the southern coast in Marbella.

He is calling the journey, which will take him around six days, the 'Vuelta de la Vuelta'.

"When I saw the Vuelta was finishing in Santiago de Compostela, the idea of doing an adventure like this immediately sprang to mind," Mate wrote in a column for Rouleur, saying he was inspired by the 'Camino' pilgrimage trail to Santiago.

"It seemed a unique opportunity to be able to enjoy the bike in a different way to competition and all the stress, the braking, the crashes, the watts... I simply wanted to grab my bike and ride home without using a plane or a car, under my own steam, in order to be in harmony with myself.

"It's a precious journey that I need to do to break that cycle you get into after three weeks of racing."

Stopping off for coffee and cake will be a far cry from the adrenaline-fuelled world of the professional peloton in which he has completed 207 Vuelta stages.

"For me, cycling is more than a sport or a job; it's a way of understanding life and knowing who you are," Mate wrote.

"I've told myself I'll arrive by Saturday at midday to have a dip in the sea and a meal at home," he added.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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