Barnes, Niewiadoma lead Canyon-SRAM in Setmana Ciclista Valenciana

Four-day race offers something for climbers and sprinters

The European racing season will get underway at the UCI 2.2 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana from February 22-25 in Spain. Canyon-SRAM are fresh off of training camp in the area and show they aim to start strong by sending a powerful, well-rounded team to the hilly four-day opener.

Newcomer Kasia Niewiadoma, who signed a three-year deal with the team after spending five seasons with Marianne Vos' Dutch squad, will line up in Rotova for the start of stage 1 in her new kit. She will likely be a key player on the climbs while teammate Hannah Barnes will take on the sprints.

The roster also includes Alena Amialiusik, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Christa Riffel. The team is complete with 2017 Zwift Academy winner Tanja Erath.

"We've had a nice training camp here in Spain for two weeks, and I think everyone is really ready to race now," Barnes said.

Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, in its second year, begins in Rotova with 118km that will feature Alto de Barxeta (6.2km at 3.1 per cent) and the Alto de Barx (6km at 5.6 per cent) before finishing in Gandia. The second stage will start in Castello and climb the Desert of Les Palmes (7.5km at 5.1 per cent) and end in Vila-Real.

Stage 3, from Sagunt to Valencia, will be 137km with a climb to L'Oronet (5.5km at 5 per cent per cent) and the final stage in Benidorm will offer three laps of a circuit that includes the climb over Alto Finestrat (7km at 4.7 per cent), for 118km in total.

Barnes said the team previewed some of the stages during their training camp, and she made her own predictions of the four stages.

"I think from what we've seen I would say that the first and last stages will be more for the climbers and a chance to change the general classification. The second and third stages I'm going to predict a bunch sprint."

Canyon-SRAM for Setmana Ciclista Valenciana: Alena Amialiusik, Hannah Barnes, Tanja Erath, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Kasia Niewiadoma, Christa Riffel

 

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