Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank-Sungard) believes that the Vuelta a España route is well-suited to his talents as a climber. The Dane won the stage to the Terminillo at last year’s Giro d’Italia and is now aiming to progress and secure a high overall finish in a Grand Tour.
“For me personally, because I am thinking of riding for the general classification, it is obviously good that there are not too many time trial kilometres,” Sørensen told sporten.tv2.dk. “The team time trial is good for our team because we can gain time on the others, but overall it appears to be a race for climbers and I see that as being a very positive thing.”
The most immediately striking aspect of the 2011 Vuelta route, which was unveiled on Wednesday, is the absence of the Pyrenees. However, with the fearsome climbs of the Alto de Angliru, the Peña Cabarga and Sierra Nevada all set to feature, as well as a long-awaited return to the Basque Country, Sørensen maintains that it is still a testing course.
“The Pyrenees aren’t included, which makes the course different because there won’t be certain mountain stages,” he noted. “But in return, you get the Basque Country, which is a difficult terrain to ride in, where it’s all up and down.”
Soaring temperatures took their toll on the peloton in the opening part of the 2010 race and with this year’s Vuelta set to start on August 20, Sørensen reckons that the heat could again be a significant factor in the first week. Stage four to Sierra Nevada, in particular, stands out in this regard.
“Sierra Nevada is a nasty climb and I know it really well,” Sørensen said. “Especially in August it is usually very hot and Sierra Nevada is almost a desert.”
Meanwhile, Sørensen acknowledged that the possibility of inclement weather could affect the latter part of the Vuelta in the Basque Country but he said that he was looking forward to making an impact on those rolling roads.
“When the weather is good I think it’s a really, really good terrain,” he said. “All those hills invite attacks and I’m a reasonably aggressive rider, so I’d really like to race there.”
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Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.
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