Vuelta al Pais Vasco preview

The 52nd edition of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco (in Basque, Euskal Herriko txirrindulari itzulia), a six-day WorldTour stage race, will be held this year from Monday 2nd to Saturday 7th April. It clashes with the Belgian cobbled Classics giving cobble-shy climbers a safe haven. The 2012 route was only officially announced in early March after the event had been rescued by a local bank from possible cancellation due to lack of funding. The event is organised by the leading Basque newspaper Diario Vasco.

The race was first run in 1924, and won by Frenchman Francis Pelissier, before undergoing numerous iterations and cancellations. It features on the palmares of riders such as Gino Bartali, Jacques Anquetil, Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and Laurent Jalabert. Continue reading

What’s happening in April?

Welcome to our preview of what’s happening in the world of road cycling in April. With the first of this year’s three Grand Tours, the Giro d’Italia, just around the corner, this is a busy month for the professional peloton, featuring no fewer than seven WorldTour events – five one-day Classics (including three of the five ‘monuments’) and two six-day stage races – comprising exactly a quarter of the 28 WorldTour races for 2012. Continue reading

GP Miguel Indurain preview

The GP Miguel Indurain is a one-day road race in the  Spanish region of Navarra. It started back in 1951 as a Navarran hill-climbing competition limited to local riders. In 1968 it was reborn as the GP Navarra and rebranded again in 1989 as the Trofeo Communidad de Navarra. Finally, in 1998 the race was rechristened Gran Premio Miguel Indurain after the five-time Tour de France winner.

In 2005, with the introduction of the UCI Europe Tour, the race was classified a 1.1 event and then upgraded to a 1.HC event in 2007. These higher grades have attracted an increasingly competitive and international field of racers..

What kind of race is it?

Initially, the race’s organiser, the Estella Cycling Club, was having problems finding sufficient funds to stage the race. Finally, a private sponsor came forward. While the budget remains at €100,000 (€7,515 for the winner) the number of teams taking part has been restricted to 11, albeit each with ten members: seven ProTour teams along with four Spanish ProContinental and Continental teams.  Continue reading