Armstrong's 2010 Euro debut in Murcia
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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Armstrong's 2010 Euro debut in Murcia

by Bjorn Haake at 4:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Lance Armstrong will do his first race in Europe in Spain today. The Texan lines up at the 30th edition of the Vuelta Ciclista Murcia, which runs from March 3 to March 7.

Armstrong wasn't quite pleased to leave his training in southern France behind. "Made it to Murcia, Spain. Left the sun and warm(ish) temps of Nice and came to cold rain of Spain!" he said on his twitter account.

It is not the Tour de France, but Armstrong will wear the magical number 51. Armstrong's RadioShack team also features Andreas Klöden, who has his own chance of victory.

Besides Armstrong, there are others to start preparations for their respective season goals. Defending champion Denis Menchov will wear the number 1.

Bradley Wiggins starts for his new Sky team, looking especially to stage number four, an individual 22km time trial in Alhama de Murcia. With a first place in the Qatar team time trial and a second place in the Andalucía individual time trial, Wiggins looks on target for another great performance against the clock.

The first three stages are quite mountainous and the climbers will seek their chances to gain time in the overall. The first stage starts uphill immediately. The climbs aren't too high, with only three category three climbs, but there won't be any talk of easing into the race.

Stage two starts at an altitude of less than 400m, then takes in the Alto de San Juan (1227m) twice. The final forty km are descending, so a smaller regrouping is possible, but a Savoldelli-style move could bring a solo victory.

Italian summit

Stage three also has undulating terrain and close to the end features the 1150m high Alto del Collado Bermejo. It is also named the Cima Marco Pantani. This should quieten the critics that the Vuelta a Murcia is not inviting Italian teams due to the Italian Olympic Committee still going after Spaniard Alejandro Valverde.

Stages

Stage 1 - March 3:  San Pedro del Pinatar - San Pedro del Pinatar - 166.5km
Stage 2 - March 4: Calasparra - Caravaca de la Cruz - 154.3km
Stage 3 - March 5: Las Torres de Cotillas - Alhama de Murcia - 166.5km
Stage 4 - March 6: Alhama de Murcia - Alhama de Murcia - 22km (ITT)
Stage 5 - March 7: Redyser (Murcia) - Murcia - 121.1km
 

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