47th Vuelta al País Vasco - PT
Spain, April 9-14, 2007
- Stage 1 - April 9: Urretxu - Urretxu, 139 km
- Stage 2 - April 10: Urretxu - Karrantza, 191.5 km
- Stage 3 - April 11: Karrantza - Vitoria-Gasteiz, 173 km
- Stage 4 - April 12: Vitoria-Gasteiz - Lekunberri, 176 km
- Stage 5 - April 13: Lekunberri - Oiartzun, 169 km
- Stage 6 - April 14: Oiartzun - Oiartzun, 14 km
The 2007 Vuelta al Pais Vasco/Tour of the Basque Country will feature a star-studded line-up of Spanish climbers and a parcours to match, with 35 categorised climbs spread over 863km of racing. Among the local favourites for the six-stage event are: Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel), Carlos Sastre (CSC), Francisco Mancebo (Relax-Gam) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Defending champion Jose Angel Gómez Marchante (Saunier Duval-Prodir) will also be on the start line in Urretxu. In fact, the only notable absentee from Spain's elite is Tour de France runner-up Oscar Pereiro.
In the international group, the Basque cycling fans will also enjoy watching Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and 2005 winner Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas).
The favorite riders are the Spanish team leaders. Contador is having his greatest season to date with wins in both Paris-Nice and the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. Alejandro Valverde is also in this very exclusive group as he leads Spain's top squad Caisse d'Epargne. Basque Samuel Sanchez is also on the list considering that his Euskaltel-Euskadi team is racing on home territory. Euskaltel's men should know every single corner of the entire route and that will surely play into their hands.
Mountain specialists like Michael Rasmussen, Mauricio Ardila (Rabobank), Ivan Parra (Cofidis) and Jose Rujano (Unibet.com) will also be in the hunt for stage victories.
The harsh parcours is full of category 2 and category 3 mountains. Five out of the six stages are mountainous, the only respite being the 14km individual time trial on stage 6 through the streets of Oiartzun. Considering the route, whoever is leading at the end of the fifth stage will be in the best position to wear the classical txapela (typical Basque hat) on the final podium.