What's Cool In Road Cycling

Preview: Trofeo Luis Puig And The Vuelta Ciclista Comunidad Valenciana

This week the Spanish season moves further north up to Valencia, for the one day classic, the Luis Puig, followed by the five stage Vuelta Ciclista Valenciana. It’s a big race and very important to show who is in form.

Trofeo Luis Puig.

This Sunday, 23rd. Feb., the 23rd Trofeo Luis Puig sets off from the seaside resort of Benidorm to the capital city of the region, Valencia. The race alternates one direction or the other each year. When it finishes in Benidorm it’s not always a bunch sprint, but this year finishing in Valencia it will be!

The course climbs (past my house) to 960 metres in the first 38 kilometres, then it’s all downhill to the finish, 143 kilometres later, probably four hours for the total 181.6 kilometres.

Mario Cipollini has won here three times, Erik Zabel twice. Some-one like last year’s winner Ivanov, who is in good form at the moment, he won the last stage of the Ruta de Sol or Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), Osa (ibaneast.com) or Valverde (Kelme) could pull off a surprize. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) is not down to start Luis Puig, but is down for the Tour of Valencia.

Feb. 25 – Mar.1

The 61st. Vuelta Ciclista Comunidad Valenciana starts on Tuesday with a 9.7 kilometre time trial round St. Vicent de Raspieg (near Alicante), home town of Aitor Gonzalez, last winner of the Vuelta a Espana, he is not likely to start as its a bit early in the season.

Stage 2: Castalla to Villa-Joiosa, 159 kilometres, two times over the Tudons (1,020 metres) and once over Confrides (960 metres). A down hill finish, but no chance for a re-groupment for those without their mountain legs!

Stage 3: Onda to Port de Sagunt, 159 kilometres, three climbs over 600 mertres, hard, but not super hard, downhill finish again.

Stage 4: Sagunt to Alto de Campello, 158 kilometres, fairly flat until the last 30 kilometres, then it’s up, up, up, from sealevel to 610 metres in 11% and 14%, mmm nice!

Last Stage: 165 kilometres round Valencia, two mountains, La Reina and La Muela, both about 600 metres high. Downhill and flat for the last 100 kilometre sprint.

Past winners include: Zulle x2, Jeker, Ekimov, Jalabert, Roche and Hinault. So the Spanish have to try a bit harder, the last home win was Olano in 2000. This year Fassa Bortolo, Telekom and Saeco are sending strong teams, Quick-Step, Rabobank, Cofidis and Coast look like a training camp. All 8 Spanish teams are there and will be up for it, if you win this race, it’s rememberd for a long time.

Get more info at the official website Vuelta Valenciana

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