The Volta ao Algarve has announced the route for the upcoming 43rd edition of the race, which will see the five-day Portuguese event upgraded to a 2.HC rating on the UCI's Europe Tour calendar.
The 2017 running of the February race will closely resemble this year's edition, with stages for sprinters, time trial specialists and climbers alike.
The Volta will kick off with a 180.3km opening stage from Albufeira to Lagos, one for the fast finishers. Marcel Kittel (Etixx - Quick-Step) won this year's sprinters' opener in Lagos. As in 2016, the race continues with a second stage that climbs the Alto da Fóia, the first real test for the GC hopefuls.
Stage 3 mirrors the third stage of the 2016 race with an 18km individual time trial around Sagres. Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) nabbed his first TT win of the season there this past February.
A mostly flat 203.4km fourth stage will likely give the sprinters their second opportunity before an up-and-down final stage of the race from Loulé to the top of the Malhão climb. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) nabbed the stage victory there earlier this season, with Sky's Geraint Thomas finishing fifth on the day to secure a second-straight overall GC win.
Already the preferred tune-up race for a number of riders looking to start the season with a varied parcours and a high level of competition, an upgraded Algarve expects a strong contingent of riders for the upcoming edition, with at least 10 WorldTour teams among those planning to make the start.