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The lead men on stage 2 of the Afxentia Stage Race, a round of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup
Race series billed as perfect warm-up for World Cup season
The Cyprus Sunshine Cup, a hallmark on the early season calendar, has set its dates for the 2012 season. Three rounds in Voroklini, Macheras Forest and Amathous are on the UCI's race schedule for the coming Olympic year.
The series will kick off the European season with the race in Voroklini near Larnaca on February 19 (UCI category 1). Five days later, the Afxentia stage race will be held in the Macheras Mountains. That round is again a UCI category SHC event, which means that riders can earn a lot of UCI points, something that will come in handy for some riders and nations when it comes to Olympic qualification. The final round (UCI category 1) will be held at scenic location along the coast through the ancient ruins of Amathous.
The Sunshine Cup, held in the sunny climate of Cyprus, ends just two weeks before the 2012 World Cup season will kick off in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The races could provide an ideal transition to get winter training legs up to race speed, and the temperatures are more likely to be similar to those expected in South Africa, so riders will be able to acclimate to hotter temperatures.
Past participants have included 2011 World Cup winner Jaroslav Kulhavy, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Sabine Spitz and several UCI Elite Teams like Rabobank Giant, Milka Trek, Felt Ötztal X-Bionic, Specialized, Team Bulls and national teams. In 2011, top riders from 31 different countries were on the start line in the series races.
2012 Cyprus Sunshine Cup
February 19: Voroklini (C1)
February 24 - 26: Afxentia Macheras Mountains (SHC)
March 4: Amathous-Agios-Tychon (C1)