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Vuelta a la region de Murcia

A Spanish triptych with spearheads Girmay, Goossens and Kristoff

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux extends its stay in Spain after last week’s Tour of Valencia on the occasion of three one day races in the southern provinces of Murcia, Almeria and Jaén. The selections under the direction of Steven De Neef and Ioannis Tamouridis will participate to the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia (1.1, 12/02) on Saturday, the Clasica de Almeria (1.Pro, 13/02) on Sunday and the first edition of the Clasica Jaén Paraiso Interior (1.1, 14/02)on Monday.

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux has been succesful in Murcia in the past, thanks to Xandro Meurisse’s stage and overall victory in 2020. Since then, the two day race became a classic containing the Alto Collado Bermejo (Cima Marco Pantani, 17.5km at 5.4%). After the top which is situated halfway through the race of 183.2 kilometer with start in Fortuna, the peloton will dive towards the Alboran Sea. On their way to the finish in Puerto de Cartagena they have to climb the Alto El Cedacero (5km at 5.6%). Belgian riders Jan Bakelants, Kobe Goossens and Loïc Vliegen, Frenchman Théo Delacroix andEritrean rider Biniam Girmay will defend the colors of the Belgian World Team. 

The first race half of the Clasica de Almeria after the start in El Ejido takes place at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Three categorized climbs have to be covered before starting the final 80 kilometer on the flat coastline towards the finish in Roquetas de Mar. The Cuesta de Almerimar (1.1km at 5.7%)  is the only difficulty in the final. It was on an identical parcours that Alexander Kristoff finished second two years ago. The Norwegian sprinter will be accompanied by Dutchman Taco van der Hoorn, who starts his season in Almeria, Belgian rider Dimitri Claeys, Frenchmen Théo Delacroix and Adrien Petit, Italian sprinter Andrea Pasqualon and Hungarian rider Barnabás Peák.

The inaugural edition of Jaén Paraiso Interior will conclude the triptych on Monday with 187.9 kilometers of climbing and descending between Baeza and Ubeda, containing 40 kilometer of unpaved climbs. After a flat interlude halfway through the race, the unpaved climbs of Santa Eulalia (5.5km at 4.8%) and triple ascent towards the finish in Ubeda (8.2km aan 4.2%) animate the final. The same line up as for the Tour of Murcia completed by Hungarian rider Barnabás Peák will discover this first Spanish classic on unpaved roads.

« Within our line up for the Tour of Murcia we’ve got excellent options for both a breakaway with strong riders and a group sprint thanks to Kobe Goossens and Biniam Girmay. I’m looking forward to receiving to official start list, which will be an important source of information to determine our tactics. The day after in Almeria it is clear that we will focus on a bunch sprint with Alexander Kristoff, who finished close to the victory in one of the previous editions. The Norwegian sprinter improved his results each sprint day of the Tour of Valencia last week, approaching the victory with the support of his sprint train, so I’m looking forward to the final in Almeria on Sunday. I’m also curious to discover the third race in Jaén, which will definitely be a hard event. It is difficult to predict for all teams, however, the performances in Murcia might learn us a lot. I believe we can seize all three opportunities. »


General Classification


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