Sastre praises route of 2012 Vuelta a España
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sastre praises route of 2012 Vuelta a España

by VeloNation Press at 8:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Recently-retired stage racer predicts spectacular action

Carlos SastreFormer Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre has applauded the gamble which is the route of the 2012 Vuelta a España, saying that he believes that the parcours unveiled Wednesday should make for some spectacular racing.

“It seems very attractive to me, as it has in previous years. Fifty percent of the stages will be mountain stages or summit finishes, in which the riders who think of the overall will always have to be alert. The other fifty percent of the stages will not be favourable to the sprinters. I think that there will be maybe three or four sprint finishes in the Vuelta, and one of them comes after many days of mountain. So there’s a big chance that sprinters will not reach [the finish in front].”

Sastre and five-time Tour winner Miguel Indurain were guests of honour at Wednesday’s route launch in the Palacio de Congresos y Auditorio de Navarra in Pamplona.

They watched the unveiling of the parcours for the 2012 race, which will spend a staggering 13 days in the mountains and have ten summit finishes. Factor in the sole individual time trial of 40 kilometres and it is clear that the route has been designed for a climber.

Had Sastre not retired after last year’s race, he would have been licking his lips at the prospect of the course.

“It begins in a very explosive way with a mountain stage on the third day, with the Arrate mountain and endless days of climbing with final sections of twenty percent slope,” he said. “The important riders have to be very careful until they reach the central part of the race.

“In Galicia and Asturias, with the Ancares, Lagos de Covadonga and Pajares stages, the Vuelta will have the highlights of the race. There are three consecutive days of mountain, really hard stages and mountain passes. These can take its toll and especially it's going to clearly dictate who's the strongest rider in the race.”

As was the case in 2010, the race will once again feature the finish of Bola del Mundo, a tough climb which comes on the penultimate day.

Sastre refers to it as having a ‘beautiful and spectacular finish’ and believes that fireworks could take place. “If the race arrives as did at that moment [in 2010], without a clear winner, and there is a Spanish rider who may have a chance to win this Vuelta or have the opportunity to be with the best, I think that will give a much bigger thrill to the race…especially for the Spanish audience.”

He added that the nature of the course meant that it would be very difficult for any one rider to take control, and that it would further increase the suspense.

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