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Antics on the podium in last year's Vuelta a Chihuahua
Mexican 2.1-ranked stage race attracts a strong field
The fourth edition of the Vuelta a Chihuahua in Mexico will begin this Sunday, and this year it will see a rise in status as a 2.1-ranked UCI event. The race is the first on the 2010 Americas Tour.
The increased stature has attracted a stronger line-up, including UCI Pro Tour teams Caisse d'Epargne and Fuji-Servetto, as well as four Professional Continental teams: Andalucia-Cajasur, Contentpolis AMPO, ISD and Xacobeo Galicia.
North American continental teams Rock Racing, Kelly Benefit Strategies and Planet Energy will complement the remaining squads, which include Rabobank's Continental team, Madeinox, Meitan Hompo, Canel's Turbo, Arenas Afamado, Orven and Delicias Alpura.
Francisco Mancebo, the winner of the last two editions will join Rock Racing to defend his title along with fellow Spaniard Oscar Sevilla. They'll face strong competition from the Mexican Tecos-Trek squad, which will field Dane Michael Rasmussen alongside 2009 UCI Americas Tour champion Gregorio Ladino.
The race will run in the opposite direction from the previous two years, making the parcours less mountainous. The most challenging stages will come on the third day, when the race ends in San Juanito, and the fourth day which runs to Guachochi and includes a category one climb mid-way through the stage.