Dakar winner Coma and Olympic champion Absalon racing
The inaugural edition of the Andalucía Bike Race was presented last weekend, one week before the mountain bike stage race will kick off in Spain. Andalucía Tourism Minister Luciano Alonso and current motorbike Dakar winner Marc Coma presided over the ceremony in Jaén. The race will begin on February 27 and run through March 4 in the provinces of Córdoba and Jaén.
Coma will be racing in the new event along with cross country world champion José Antonio Hermida, former marathon world champion Ralph Näf, former Spanish marathon national champion Rubén Ruzafa and Olympic team representative Iñaki Lejarreta.
During the presentation, the entry of another of the world's best mountain bike racers was announced. Frenchman Julien Absalon, four-time cross country world champion, five-time World Cup winner and two-time Olympic gold medalist, will also be in the race.
The final stages of the Andalucía Bike Race were modified recently, resulting in shorter distances and less climbing. The stages in Córdoba have hardly changed at all, with small modification including a new staging location and a second descent on the Reventón downhill.
However, on the fourth stage, between Priego de Córdoba and Jaén, the climbs to Mahína and Cerezo mountain passes have been removed, and the Navazuelo climb has been replaced with the Valle mountain pass, which heads directly to Luque. The finish will remain the same, with racers entering Jaén through the Jabalcuz mountain range.
The fifth stage has had some small changes, with a few less kilometers, but still including its three main highlights: Sierra Mágina, Serrezuela de Pegalajar and Sierra San Cristóbal.
The sixth and final stage has been transformed into a route surrounding the Quiebrajano lake in view of the surrounding Pandera mountains.
Andalucía Bike Race for 2011
February 27: Stage 1 - Córdoba - Cerro Muriano, 75.2km
February 28: Stage 2 - Western Córdoba, 73km
March 1: Stage 3 - Eastern Córdoba, 74km
March 2: Stage 4 - Priego de Córdoba - Jaén, 115km
March 3: Stage 5 - Eastern Jaén, 63km
March 4: Stage 6 - Southern Jaén, 82km
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