Meanwhile Sapurna aren't allowed to compete because they didn't pay an anti-doping testing fee to the UCI in time.
No Cleano, no party...
Damn, that's a hard route.Vuelta a Guatemala, one of the coolest small races around, got kicked off today. Lots of climbing, confetti, fireworks and huge crowds are the norm for the race, and I always enjoy seeing a bit of this insular but excitable scene and really hope that they can find some home success to spur them on after the hard work done to try to save the reputation of Guatemaltecan cycling. No TT this year so it's probably going to be purely a climber's race.
The race starts with a long (for the race - 164km so fairly standard pro race distance in the WT but quite long for Central American cycling) stage with a cat.3 climb just over 10km out; stage 2 ought to be a sprint, but stage 3 has 3,6km at 9,7% at 10km from home, another cat.3 climb 5km from home, and then a final ramp of 600m at 16% (!!!). Stage 4 is a monster with essentially a step after step uphill run from a long and traditional style cat.1 climb early on (12km at 6,5%), there are back to back Vuelta specials close to the finish with 3,4km @ 11% at 13km from home and 4,5km @ 12% at 4km from the line - should be savage. Stage 5 is around Esquipulas Palo Gordo (they will be so glad not to climb the Cuesta, 25km at 7,5% of severity, one of the hardest climbs ever used in pro racing, at least outside of the WT level) - some hilly circuits are followed by low gradient climbing and then a punchy uphill finish, but this time only at around 5%. Stage 6 is the traditional Cerro El Baul uphill finish in Quetzaltenango, coming after an endless grind to the Alto de Almalonga - broken up into four separate climbs by the organisers but overall totalling 42km at 5% for over 2000m of vertical from Kalel El Zarco, cresting 7km from the line with the short uphill and then plateau to the traditional finish afterward. Stage 7 is a flat finish after a cat.4 climb 5km out, but it's the 5km at 10,6% 39km from home that will make the difference. Stages 8 and 9 feature a bunch of climbing (steeper in 8, more gradual in 9) but none near the finish, so moves to make time will need to be from afar, while stage 10 is the traditional circuit race in Ciudad de Guatemala.
All the domestic favourites are here, including defending champ Mardoqueo Vásquez, and Sérgio Chumil fresh from his exploits on the Spanish amateur calendar; the Toc Xon brothers are also on the super strong Hino One-La Red team. The likes of Álex Julajuj, Alfredo Ajpacajá, Dorian Monterroso, Henry Sam, Eduardo Orozco and Jhonnatán de León give good domestic opposition, while other Central American challengers will include Honduran Luís Fernando López, Brandon Rodríguez from El Salvador, and the Panamanians Christofer Jurado, Alex Strah and Franklin Archibold. There are also teams from Mexico (including Miguel Arroyo and Efrén Santos), Colombia (including Julián Osorio and Brandon Rojas) and Ecuador (two Continental teams, with the likes of Santiago Montenegro, Cristián Toro, Wilson Haro and Robinson Chalapud), as well as an anomalous Dutch squad. Jahir Pérez and Cristián Cubides are also a couple of Colombian talents moonlighting on the Guatemalan teams.
Chalapud won stage 1, with 3 seconds over Franklin Archibold and 4 over the main other favourites, with Chumil, Vásquez, Monterroso, Cubides, Sam and Pérez among those in that group. The main bunch lost a few more seconds, coming at +13".
That is a real depressing 60 hours in a cubicle excel spreadsheet type mountain profile (no offense) hahaHave just realised that the stage 4 finale is around Lago Atitlán and is the same as I used in my Vuelta a Guatemala in the Race Design Thread, although I included a bunch more rolling and an uphill finish rather than finishing so close to the climb.
Hino One-La Red took control of the race with Mardóqueo Vásquez taking stage honours and the yellow jersey, and Sérgio Chumil in 2nd ahead of overnight leader Jahír Pérez.
Mardóqueo finished solo with over 2 minutes' advantage, with Chumil sitting on the yellow jersey before outsprinting him for second on the day. Wilson Haro was 4th, after losing time on stage 3, while 19-year-old Colombian espoir Paulo Pantoja managed 5th - two top 10s in a row - as the last rider within 5 minutes. A bit of a group at the 6 minute mark including Esdras Morales, Luís Fernando López and Jimmy Montenegro as the time gaps get pretty herculean.
Not to mention the altitude - the highest point ever reached in a European race is 2802 metres (Bonette), I'm pretty sure the entirety of stage 5 is higher than that. Even by Latin American standards, that's something special.Just looking at Procyclingstats and the Vuelta al Ecuador makes my legs hurt. Yesterday Robinson Chalapud won stage 3 which was more or less one single 120 km climb. The top ten scattered across a five-and-a-half minute gap.
Looks like quite the grind!
Yeah, but stage 5 enters Quinghai Lake territory.Not to mention the altitude - the highest point ever reached in a European race is 2802 metres (Bonette), I'm pretty sure the entirety of stage 5 is higher than that. Even by Latin American standards, that's something special.
Qinghai Lake still beats that on a yearly basis, though
I used to live on that road: it goes right past my former door in Los Bancos where the sprint point is.Just looking at Procyclingstats and the Vuelta al Ecuador makes my legs hurt. Yesterday Robinson Chalapud won stage 3 which was more or less one single 120 km climb. The top ten scattered across a five-and-a-half minute gap.
Looks like quite the grind!