What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vuelta 2010: First Impressions

Spain is in the grip of a sudden cold spell with snow blocking roads making travel a little awkward, so it was good that Spain’s TV sports channel; Teledeporte showed the Vuelta a Espaсa 2010 presentation live. Our man in Spain didn’t have to leave his warm, comfortable settee to bring us the low-down on next year’s race.

The Vuelta presentation was in Sevilla this year (normally Madrid), the start town of next year’s race. Some of the old stars of cycling where in attendance; Thevenet, Olano, Hinault and introducing the show Pedro Delgado. Hinault pointed out that one of his hardest day on a bike was the stage to Avila in 1983 which he won the stage and overall.

So The Course
The 2010 Vuelta has quite a few new hills to climb and brings back some old favourites. The first innovation must be the opening stage of a night time team time trial of 16 kilometres in Sevilla on a pan flat course. New climbs include the Cotobello, Bola del Mundo and on stage 10 to Vilanova i la Geltrъ there is a steep climb that is being referred to as an “Angliru of Cataluсa”.

Returning mountains are Xorret del Cati, Peсa Carbarga, Andorra and the normally decisive summit finish of the Lagos de Cavadonga.

Stage Details
1Є Sevilla-Sevilla (TTT) 16,5km.
Flat, fast, hard and in the dark.

2Є Alcalб de Guadaнra-Marbella 173km
Probable sprinters stage.

3Є Marbella-Mбlaga 156km
3 big climbs, first shake up.

4Є Mбlaga-Valdepeсas de Jaйn 177k
Sprinters stage

5Є Guadix-Lorca 194km
Sprinters stage

6Є Caravaca de la Cruz-Murcia 144km
Sprinters stage

7Є Murcia-Orihuela 170km
Sprinters stage

8Є Villena-Xorret del Catн 188,8km
5 climbs and summit finish

9Є Calpe-Alcoy 187km
Similar to the stage to Aitana last year, could be THE decisive stage

06.09 Rest Day

10Є Tarragona-Vilanova i la Geltrъ 173,7km
1 Big, steep climb in the middle

11Є Vilanova i la Geltrъ-Andorra (Vallnord/Pal) 208km
Andorra, one big, long, steady climb.

12Є Andorra la Vella-Lleida 175km
Probable a sprinters stage. Malcolm Elliot won here 1989.

13Є Rincуn de Soto-Burgos 193,7km
Transition stage.

14Є Burgos-Peсa Cabarga 178,8km
A hard day with 3 climbs and summit finish

15Є Solares-Lagos de Covadonga 170km
The Lagos have always been important stage. Flat road and then an 1110 meter climb from sea level.

16Є Gijуn-Cotobello 179,3km
Summit finish. Sammy Sanchez knows this climb well “it’s a great climb with great views, wild horses and normally no traffic.

14.09 Rest Day

17Є Peсafiel-Peсafiel (ITT) 46km
Flat TT, Contador didn’t like that a flat TT comes right after two very hilly days and a rest day

18Є Valladolid-Salamanca 153km
Could be a sprinters stage, but there are strong cross wind in this area.

19Є Piedrahita-Toledo 200km
Sprinters stage.

20Є San Martнn de Valdeiglesias-Bola del Mundo 168,8km
The Bola is the last mountain of La Vuelta, the road surface is concrete, narrow and twisty. It is closed with snow at the moment.

21Є San Sebastiбn de los Reyes-Madrid 100km
The lap of honour
Total kilometres: 3.352,6.

A climber’s race with only two time trials, lots of summit finishes and as usual a course that takes the action to where the spectators can appreciate the race. There are a few stages for the sprinters, but the over all feeling is that this is a “Roulours” race, a strong man that can climb. Valverde, Contador and Sanchez have all said they want to ride the Tour, so maybe a new name on the podium in 2010?

That just leaves me to go to the bar tomorrow and peruse the sports papers over a coffee and cake for more in-depth analysis. Stay tuned.

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