The best cyclists in the world are coming to Andalucia
Come & Ride it for yourself!
Alberto Contador kickstarts his season in Andalucia
The 61st edition of our very local race La Vuelta Ciclista a Andalucia (Tour of Andalusia), begins this Wednesday and just so happens to be packed full of the best cyclists in the world. Alberto Contador (Team Tinkoff-Saxo), winner of La Vuelta 2014 crosses swords for the first time this season with his biggest rival, Chris Froome (Team Sky), winner of the Tour de France 2013. The race, also known as the Ruta del Sol, has never had the current 2 best grand tour riders in the world here and the international media attention is gathering pace. Incredibly enough, the stakes were even higher up until a week ago when the Columbian Nairo Quintana (Movistar), winner of the Giro in 2014, pulled out with injury. All of us at Cycling Country will be out watching the race as it streams through our local area.
|Impressive Mountain Scenery - Puerto de Cabra|
The designers of the race have obviously thought long and hard about providing us fans with something special as the route is quite spectacular for a mini-tour of 5 stages. After the flatter first 2 stages and Time Trial, all eyes will be on the queen stage (Friday 20 February 2015) from Motril to Hazallanas which passes by our regular ride from our office in Alhama de Granada, Lake Bermejales, and features 3 classified climbs. In fact the first climb up from the Mediterranean Coast, called the Puerto de Cabra, is probably one of the most beautiful cycling routes in Europe – every cyclist we have taken there on our Lakes, Mountains and Sea tour are blown away by the stunning mountain scenery.
As the race heads inland towards Granada, the peloton is in for a leg burner as they have to climb the short (5km) but steep (about 2km of it averages around 15%) category 1 climb of Hazallanas in the Sierra Nevada. This was the climb used for the first time in La Vuelta a España 2013, when Chris Horner decided it was time to surprise everyone and drop Vincenzo Nibali and go on to claim the overall GC. Our cyclists on our Vuelta España VIP Tour that year will no doubt remember struggling up the narrow and painful ascent to be greeted with great views down of the zig-zagging hairpin road to Guejar Sierra. If you ever fancy riding this beast, we have the option on our Granada and Sierra Nevada road cycling tour.
|22% maximum gradient - ouch!|
For the past three years, the world number 1 cyclist (UCI World Tour) Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), has won the race, putting on a great show for his local fans from Murcia. Not being here this year, a new name winner is guaranteed. Other top names include Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol), three times third previously, Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2R La Mondiale), runner up in last year`s TdF, and the Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory). If the Hazallanas stage doesn`t produce the overall winner, then the next stage will. A rolling stage begins from Maracena, Granada with three category 3 climbs through some of our favourite areas of Alcala La Real and Jaen province to keep the peloton alert, before the route finishes at the cat 1 of to the alto de Allanados. Not as tough as Hazallanas, but again a finish where the leaders can put time into their rivals. The scenery is beautiful and you can ride these roads on our challenging Signature Climbs Series which highlights the best climbs used in La Vuelta a Andalucia and Vuelta a Espana.
|Chris Horner celebrates his win on Hazallanas - La Vuelta '13|
So stay tuned for this year’s route which showcases some of the best roads in the area, and therefore not surprisingly used on many of our bike tours in Andalucia. Watch the race action and great scenery from your home with Eurosport's live coverage or stream the stages on the internet.
Get inspired to come and cycle Andalucia for yourself.