Elite mountain bikers start season in Spain

While many elite international mountain bike racers will focus on the Sunshine Cup in Cyprus to warm up their legs and gain some useful UCI points, a few top international, Spanish and Canarian riders have confirmed their participation in the Four Day Mountain Bike Race that takes place in Lanzarote from January 26-29.

There are no UCI points, but there are 6450 Euros in prize money to be won, so some riders are using the four-day race to get ready for the upcoming Andalucia Bike Race in February or the Cape Epic in March.

Among the favorites are Spanish Olympians Carlos Coloma and Sergio Manticon (both Wild Wolf-Trek), multi-time Cape Epic winners Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm (Team Bulls), endurance racer Ismael Ventura (Megamo RC), former British champion and 2010 race winner James Ouchterlony (Mondraker) and 2009 Titan Desert winner Israel Nuñez (Spain). Marathoner Jesus Del Nero Montes (Rotor-Spiuk) and Fran Pérez and Juan Pedro Trujillo (both Wildwolf-Trek) will also be on the line.

WildWolf-Trek's team manager said his riders are not at 100 percent, but will do their best to raise the level of the competition. For most of its riders, the race is the first competition of the year and a chance to get acquainted with teammates and team staff. WildWolf's riders are doing early preparations for the World Cup, starting in Germany in May.

2012 Cape Epic winner Sally Bigham will be the woman to beat. The number-one ranked UCI marathoner will battle 11-time Spanish national champion Sandra Santanyes.

The Four Day Mountain Bike Race, organized by Club La Santa, features four stages including a time trial. Ninety percent of the course is off-road, covering sand, lava fields and singletrack and doubletrack on the north of the island.

Club La Santa Four Day Mountain Bike Race
Saturday January 26: Stage 1 - 30km single loop
Sunday January 27: Stage 2 - 60km single loop
Monday January 28: Stage 3 - 25km individual time trial with 500 meters of climbing
Tuesday January 29: Stage 4 - 80km marathon

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