By Monika Prell
The 61st edition of the Subida al Naranco (Asturias) starts today. It will be raced over 166 kilometres, between the area of "Tartiere Auto" in Lugones and the Alto del Naranco. The cyclists will tackle some serious mountains, including the Collada de Arnicio (1st category) and the Alto de La Colladona (2nd category), which dangerous descent could be decisive like in last year's edition if the predicted rain showers arrive.
20 kilometres before the finish waits the third climb, El Padrun (2nd category), and only eight kilometres after the riders will have to climb on La Manzaneda (1st category). After crossing the capital of Asturias, Oviedo, begins the final ascent; 5.5 kilometres with an average gradient of seven percent.
The peloton will consist of three ProTour teams; Unibet.com, Euskaltel – Euskadi and Saunier Duval-Prodir. Besides Unibet.com, there will be four foreign teams; Barloworld, Acqua e Sapone, Selle Italia and Benfica, which will include Portuguese José Azevedo. The other Spanish teams will be Andalucia-Cayasur, Fuerteventura-Canarias, Karpin-Galicia, Relax-GAM, Grupo Nicolás Mateos, Orbea-Laukiz F.T., Extremadura-Spiuk, Viña Magna-Cropu and the Spanish National amateur team.
Relax-GAM will bring favourites Oscar Sevilla, who won last year's edition of the Vuelta a Asturias, Francisco Mancebo and Santiago Perez. Other favourites are Eladio Jiménez and Ezequiel Mosquera (Karpin-Galicia), David Bernabeu (Fuerteventura-Canarias) and Dionisio Galparsoro (Euskaltel – Euskadi), who rode a very strong Vuelta a la Rioja, finishing fourth in the overall classification.