Riders give thumbs-up to Clásica Jaén, Spain's nod to Strade Bianche

Clasica Jaen Paraiso Interior 2022 - 1st Edition - Baeza - Ubeda 187,8 km - 14/02/2022 - scenery - photo Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
The view of blooming olive trees in the Clasica Jaen (Image credit: SprintCyclingAgency)

"It's up there with Strade Bianche" was how Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) rated the new Spanish gravel race, the Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior, in which he finished second behind Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan). "It's a really nice parcours."

There was no doubt that the Clásica Jaén, with 40 kilometres of gravel roads and over 3,000 metres of climbing, represented a brutally tough challenge, particularly so early in the season. It could have been worse: the forecasted heavy rain bucketed down on Monday morning but stopped before the race began.

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.