Route and teams of the 2011 Challenge Ciclista a Mallorca announced
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Route and teams of the 2011 Challenge Ciclista a Mallorca announced

by Jered Gruber at 12:36 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Two days for the sprinters and three days for the climbers and all-arounders await

The route of the twentieth Challenge Ciclista a Mallorca has been released, and once again, it will be five independently classified 1.1 ranked races, starting on February 6th in Palma, and finishing on February 10th in Palmanova.

The first two days will be occasions for the sprinters to do battle. The first day is the typical opening Palma circuit - flat and fast around the island's principal city - 10 circuits of 11.6 kilometers. Robbie McEwen took the bunch sprint honors in 2010.

The Trofeo Cala Millor will start in Son Servera and finish 172.4 kilometers later in Cala Millor. En route to what should be the second consecutive bunch sprint finish, riders will take in three category four climbs. Oscar Freire triumphed over Andre Greipel in the bunch sprint last year.

The third day, the Trofeo Inca, will see the sprinters's interests pushed to the side and open the door wide for those with the upward slope loving legs. The 166.6 kilometer stage will live up to its devilish numbering with an easy 100 km start before hitting the category two Coll de Soller, followed by a technical ascent, then up the mighty Coll de Puigmajor, the island's biggest climb. Following the ascent of the Puigmajor, there are more or less 30 downhill/rolling kilometers to the finish in Inca.

In 2010, Linus Gerdemann got his season off to what would have appeared to be an auspicious start with a stage victory out of a decisive selection that went clear late and amassed a big lead at the finish. Unfortunately, Gerdemann's season never really went any further.

Sprinters will again be put on their heels for the fourth day's Trofeo Deia. The 143 kilometer loop starting and finishing in Deia, hits the category two hurdle of the Can Costa almost immediately after the start. A break will likely bid adieu to the field on this opening climb and will get a fairly nice leash heading into the day's finale, which is anything but easy. Riders will ascend the same roads they descended the day before en route to the finish in Inca - namely, they'll climb the Coll de Puigmajor from the other side. The second visit to the Puigmajor is a slightly friendlier version than the previous day's. The big climb is separated into two this time - the category two Coll de Femenia, followed by a short descent, and then the rest of the vertical meters necessary to take care of the Coll de Puigmajor.

From there, a monster descent awaits, before hitting the days third and final category two climb, the Coll d'en Bleda. It's only a few kilometers to the finish in Deia from the top of the Bleda.

A relatively large group made it to the line more or less together in 2010. 35 riders all crossed the finish within a half minute of each other. Rui Costa took the win solo by two seconds over Mallorca resident Joan Horrach and Jose Ivan Gutierrez.

Three straight days of difficult finales would seem to necessitate an easier final day, but this will not be the case. The climbers and all-arounders will get top billing on the final day's 158.5 kilometer arduous mountain romp from Magaluf for Palmanova.

Four category two climbs and one category three climb await the riders in a stereotypical sawblade profile stage.

However the difficult final stage wasn't hard enough to get rid of the some of the big sprinters last season. Andre Greipel took the win on the final day over Euskaltel's Koldo Fernandez.

Looking toward the upcoming race, the teams taking part in the five day festival of all that's good in Mallorca will be high powered to say the least with 21 teams taking the start:

10 ProTeams: Leopard Trek, HTC-Highroad, RadioShack, QuickStep, Garmin-Cervelo, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Movistar, Katusha, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Rabobank.

11 ProContinental, Continental, and national teams: Caja Rural, Skil-Shimano, Andalucia-Caja Granada, Geox-TMC, NetApp, Cofidis, Orbea, 2016-Burgos Castilly y Leon, Price, as well as the Spanish and German track teams.


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