The 42nd edition of Setmana Catalana starts today (Monday) with a 165 km stage around Lloret De Mar, and finishes on Friday, March 25 with a 16 km time trial at the Würth factory in Anoia. The 2.HC ranked stage race will feature triple Vuelta a España winner Roberto Heras (Liberty), dual Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni (Lampre), last year's winner Joaquín Rodríguez (Saunier Duval), 2003 winner Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo), 2002 Giro winner Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel), 2003 World Champion Igor Astarloa (Barloworld) and Iban Mayo (Euskaltel).
Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel), who was initially down to ride, will not participate after getting sick during Paris-Nice. Neither will Liberty's Joseba Beloki and Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, for the same reason.
There will be a total of five stages with the third stage between Castelló d'Empúries and Coll De Pal (Bagà) over 157 km being the toughest. Preceded by a Cat. 2 and Cat. 1 climb, the final climb to the Coll de Bal measures 19.5 km and ascends 1310 metres, and will almost certainly determine the general classification. The fifth stage may also have some bearing on GC, as it is a 16 km individual time trial with some small undulations.
Stage 1 - March 21: Lloret De Mar - Lloret De Mar, 165 km
Stage 2 - March 22: Lloret De Mar - Empúriabrava, 168 km
Stage 3 - March 23: Castelló d'Empúries - Coll De Pal, 157 km
Stage 4 - March 24: Baga - Palau Solita I Plegamans, 162 km
Stage 5 - March 25: Instalaciones Würth - Instalaciones Würth, 16 km ITT