The route for the 2019 Ruta del Sol (Vuelta a Andalucia) has been announced with a punchy 120-kilometre queen stage set to decide the overall winner. The five-day Spanish race, which was won by Tim Wellens this season, will take place between February 20 and 24.
The Ruta del Sol will once again provide opportunities for a variety of riders to get an early win on the board in 2019. The opening two stages into Alcalá de los Gazules and Toredonjimeno respectively are expected to be hilly but should see the sprinters battle it out for the honours.
The two halves of the race will be split by a 16.2-kilometre time trial from Mancha Real to La Guardia de Jaén. As ever, it won’t be a straightforward affair with several technical sections and a third category climb up to the 7 pilillas before the descent towards the finish line.
Stage 4 to Granada has been dubbed the queen stage and packs two first category climbs into its 120 kilometres. The short nature of the day should ensure an action-packed stage that will keep the overall contenders on their toes throughout.
The race concludes the following day with a stage from Otura to Alhaurin de la Torre. In 2016, Tejay van Garderen won the time trial into Alhaurin de la Torre while Juan Jose Lobato took the spoils on the short climb to the line when the race held its finale there in 2015.
A strong line-up is already beginning to take shape with Vuelta a Espana winner Simon Yates set to headline the start list and defending champion Wellens is expected to return. Alongside Yates, the race has confirmed his brother Adam and other teammates Esteban Chaves and Matteo Trentin. A total of 20 teams will make up the peloton with Mitchelton-Scott, Rally, Gazprom-Rusvelo, Sport Vlaanderen Baloise the teams already confirmed.