What's Cool In Road Cycling

Spanish Racing: Muy Caliente!

All roads may still lead to Rome, but several of them meander through Spain on the way there. It turns out there’s a lot of hot racing in Spain during May – whether the Romans like it or not! Alastair Hamilton has this backgrounder on the Subida al Naranco and the Vuelta a Asturias.

The Subida al Naranco and the Vuelta a Asturias, two of the top events in May, out side of the Giro de Italia, run this week. The one day Classic, Subida al Naranco, takes place on the 14th. for the first time, it has changed from it’s usual date in October to co-inside with the Vuelta a Asturia, as both are in the same region.

The Subida al Naranco has 17 teams lined up to start in Oviedo, they are from Italy: Saeco, Mercatone Uno and Acqua & Sapone, Poland: Amore & Vita and CCC, France: Big Mat, Portugal: Milaneza, LA Pecol, Matesica, Carvalhelhos-Boavista and the team from Slovakia: De-Nardi.

All the home teams will be there, Osa & Eladio Jimйnez of ibanesto.com, Sevilla & Botero of Kelme, with combinations of there team for the Tour de France to try out, Martinez & Sanchez (Euskaltel), Rodriguez & Caruso (ONCE), Bayarri & Rafa Casero (Jazztel) and Colom, Noval & Rebollo from Relax. The main dangers from the forgien teams will come from Zintchenco (LA Pecol), Celestino (Saeco) and Patrick Jonkers (Big Mat), Klaus Moller – the winner of the last edition will start with no. 1 on his back, together with his team mate Fabian Jeker (Milaneza), they are two to be watched.

The next day, all the same teams plus AG2R from France and the Swiss Phonak Hearing will start the UCI 2.3 Event, 5 stage, 46th. Vuelta a Asturias. Most of the teams will stay the same except ibanesto.com and ONCE who are bringing in there big guns. The ”Bancarios” will have Osa, Mercado, Piepoli & Santiago Blanco who holds the record for fastest climb of the Alto de Naranco, in 1999 he did it in 12 miutes 9 seconds. The ”Couponistas” have thier strong men of Beloki, Olano, Parra & Hruska.

Spanish National TV are taking the race very seriously, the second channel (La 2) is showing the last hour of the Subida and one hour every day of the Vuelta and also repeating every thing on the satellite station TVE International, last year figures reached over 800,000 viewers.

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