Organisers of the 2019 Tour Colombia have announced the route for the six-stage race scheduled for February 12-17 in the Antioquia region of the South American country. The UCI 2.1 race will start in Medellin with a 14km individual time trial and conclude six days later with the climb up Alto de Palmas, which tops out at 2,435 metres.
The race, which ran for the first time in 2018 under the name Colombia Oro y Paz, has attracted a star-studded field for the second edition, with four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome confirming his participation, along with Colombian Team Sky teammates Ivan Sosa and Egan Bernal, who won the overall in 2018.
Nairo Quintana, the 2018 runner-up, will return next year along with Movistar teammate and world champion Alejandro Valverde. Also expected to be on tap for the 2019 race are Deceuninck-QuickStep's Julian Alaphilippe, Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez and EF Education First's Rigoberto Uran.
Following the opening time trial, which is mostly flat but takes place at nearly 1,500 metres elevation, the race moves to the eastern Antioquia communities of Rionegro, La Ceja, Carmen de Viboral and La Unión for a series of flattish circuit races before the final point-to-point stage that starts in El Retiro and finishes with the climb up Alto de Palmas.
Stage 2 features a five-lap circuit race in La Ceja for 150.5km, followed by the stage 3 circuit race in Llanogrande, which sees the peloton take on four laps for 167.6km. Stage 4 returns to Medellin for six laps of a circuit that starts and finishes at the Antanasio Girardot Stadium. Stage 5 in La Union will take the peloton over four laps of a lumpy circuit that should take the sting out of any sprinters on hand after 176.8km.
The Queen stage and likely most-decisive GC day of the race comes on the final day, a 173.5km journey from El Retiro to the final climb up Alto de Palmas. The stage starts with a relatively flat opening 50km before a descent into the valley that leads to the final climb. The Alto de Palmas starts about 160km into the stage and takes riders up a steep 13.5 km ascent to the finish, where the GC contenders will be battling to wear the final orange jersey of the overall leader.
2019 Tour Colombia 2.1
Stage 1 - 14km ITT - Medellin - February 12
Stage 2 - 150.5km - La Ceja to La Ceja - February 13
Stage 3 - 167km - Llanogrande to Llanogrand - February 14
Stage 4 - 144km - Medellin to Medellin - February 15
Stage 5 - 176.8km - La Union to La Union - February 16
Stage 6 - 173.5km - El Retiro to Alto de Palmas - February 17