Jaén, Córdoba and Andújar will host the mountain bike stage race
Organizers of the Andalucía Bike Race announced the race's route for 2014. Unlike in past years, the race's route will start in Jaén and move on to Córdoba, where it will end. During this transition, the competition will visit a new venue, Andújar. The race will be held from February 23 to 28.
The 400km route will be slightly shorter than previous editions, but it is not expected to be easier as the addition of Andújar will mean 10,800m of total climbing. The route will offer a mix of singletrack and roads through a unique landscape.
All stages will be loops, starting and finishing at the same place each day.
2014 Andalucia Bike Race
Stage 1 - Jaén, 60.1km (1980m climbing)
The opening stage will start with a long stretch of road and track along olive groves in order to stretch the large peloton as it moves towards Sierra Mágina. Once Mancha Real has been left behind, the riders will hit singletrack. They will reach Pegalajar and ride a loop there before heading to the decisive and endless climb of the day to the top of San Cristóbal, from where they will descend into town.
Stage 2 - Jaén, 59km (2110m climbing)
The short stage will be both technically and physically demanding. The first climb will end with singletrack section with several switchbacks and views to the top of the Aire mountain pass. The downhill will combine fast trails and flowy singletrack. The second major climb will start along a fire road which turns into a network of singletrack inside a forest, until it reaches the top of La Mella and having crossed El Neveral. The riders will then descend back to town and rapidly back to the finish line.
Stage 3 - Andújar, 70.6km (1940m climbing)
Starting from the new venue, riders will follow trails through initial rolling hills to spread out competitors before they enter the Natural Park and start climbing to highest point of the stage. The views will again be good. The route will narrow into singletrack and end on two big downhills separated by one painful uphill.
Stage 4 - Córdoba, 72.6km (1560m climbing)
The first day in Córdoba will draw a big loop around Sierra Morena. It should be a fast stage despite its distance, with technical sections interspersed on the way. The riders will face a first, rough and technical climb to Cerro Muriano. Then they will pass along Las Jaras, Trasierra, Siete Fincas, Los Morales and Santo Domingo, before reaching the most fun singletrack of the day.
Stage 5 - Córdoba, 82.1km (1930m climbing)
The route will start climbing progressively out of town and into Sierra Morena, mixing trails, pavement and singletrack and even a hike-a-bike. The reward will come at the top, when the riders take a long and winding downhill back down to town. They then will ride a flat stretch alongside a water channel before starting another gradual climb into the woods, where riders will face all sorts of trails before taking the long downhill to Los Morales. The last part of the stage joins several singletrack sections that are both up and down.
Stage 6 - Córdoba, 55.5km (1280m climbing)
The last stage is the shortest, but it won't be easy. The first kilometers have two ride-able "walls". Then some rolling trails will lead into the second major climb, to Cerro Muriano, which will end with a stretch of abandoned railway. The downhill will be long, rocky and tricky; it will have been climbed during the fourth stage. A stretch of pavement will take riders to valley singletrack and a rough uphill hike-a-bike, and then it will be all about flowy singletrack to the finish.
For more information on the race, visit www.andaluciabikerace.com.
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