Race Design Thread

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Stage 10: Kuala Lumpur - Kuala Lumpur, 121km





GPM:
Bukit Hantu (cat.2) 3,8km @ 6,3%
Ampang Lookout (cat.3) 4,1km @ 4,3%
Somerset-Ville (cat.3) 2,0km @ 5,5%
Somerset-Ville (cat.3) 2,0km @ 5,5%
Somerset-Ville (cat.3) 2,0km @ 5,5%
Somerset-Ville (cat.3) 2,0km @ 5,5%

And so we come to the final day of the race, with a stage starting and finishing in Malaysia’s capital city, the heart of the metropolis that fills this part of Western Malaysia, the largest city (at 1,73 million) and urban area (at 7,6 million) in the country and one of the fastest growing in South East Asia. Not bad for a town whose name, in its own native language, is the somewhat less than appealing sounding “Muddy river confluence”.



Kuala Lumpur is a pretty new city for a national capital; most capitals younger than it are planned cities like Brasilia or Naypyidaw, or are cities which have risen to become capitals solely because of the new independence of the area they find themselves in, like Juba. The city was founded in 1857 at the confluence of the Gombak and Klang rivers, but specifics are not clear; it is likely a city which has grown out of a prospecting town founded by Chinese mercenary prospectors taking advantage of an offer by the Selangor royal family. A number of tin mines were founded in and around the Ampang area, and Kuala Lumpur grew into a town almost solely by virtue of being the furthest upstream that goods could be brought by boat, so it became a hub from which traders would operate and service the mining towns. Roads followed, to connect the mines to the central hub and also to service bringing the proceeds of the tin mining to the coast and beyond. Kuala Lumpur at this time, however, was also very much a wild west, with frontier justice predominating and violence between the Chinese and the Malays, and between different groups of Chinese. This unassuming history may be the source of its somewhat derogatory name - though some believe this to have been a misinterpretation of the Cantonese “Lam Pa”, meaning “jungle wetland”.

The tide turned when the British moved the administrative capital of Selangor to Kuala Lumpur in order to better control the mining industry. All British building was to the west of the river, contrasting the Chinese and Malay parts of town to the east, and a colonial police force was recruited out of those Malays displaced from Malacca. Just one year after the transfer of the capital status, the city burned down, and newly-installed Resident Frank Swettenham set about rebuilding the city in a more stable manner, with better sanitation, wider streets, and more durable construction, as well as improving transport links to the rest of Selangor. In an attempt to balance out the various ethnic groups and avoid antagonism, he also commissioned an almost unique hybrid architectural style in Old Town Kuala Lumpur which mixed British, Chinese and Malay norms.


Masjid Jamek mosque


Jalan Petaling


Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Despite its tin mining origins, Kuala Lumpur largely owes its expansion to the success of the motor car, with the enormous increase in the value of and demand for rubber greatly enriching the town, which quadrupled in size in the first quarter of the 20th Century. Its progress was halted by the Japanese invasion during World War II, which also saw brutal recriminations against the Chinese and Indian populations, while the Japanese simultaneously tried to enlist support from Malays with promises to support independence. The city was also greatly expanded inadvertently during the Malayan Emergency, when Communist insurgents looked to win independence and threatened to create a similar situation to that of Korea and later Vietnam, due to Britain’s “new villages” policy which rather broadly resembled an internment camp to try to isolate guerrillas from their support - in practice this resettled large numbers of rural workers to newly-constructed gated communities on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. The gates are long gone, but today some 1,2 million people live in the 45 communities opened as “new villages” in the 1940s and 50s, with some 85% of them being of Chinese origin.

Although Kuala Lumpur was made the capital when the British ceded control in 1957, it didn’t acquire city status until 1972, only two years before the Federal Territory was established which split the rapidly expanding city from Selangor. The Asian Economic Boom of the 1990s has seen the city expanding again, which has also led to the establishment of various outlying planned communities such as Shah Alam, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya, and also the establishment of various famous - and infamous - features of Malaysia to the outside world, such as the new airport, the motor racing circuit, and the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, for a period the tallest buildings in the world at 451,9m - now long overtaken even within Kuala Lumpur itself, with Merdeka 118 being the second tallest building in the world at 678m, some 50% taller than the more famous twin towers. At the moment, the city is in the process of a controversial project to completely revamp and rejuvenate the city by building a brand new city centre (imaginatively called the Kuala Lumpur City Centre Project) in the Jalan Ampang area, to lessen the burden on the comparatively cramped old core. Sadly, this has also resulted in the displacement and even destruction of heritage buildings, and protest have been made about the lack of character in the development and the lack of respect for the heritage and history of the city in destroying these landmarks.

Perhaps this is why Kuala Lumpur manages to not be an especially renowned tourist destination in comparison to the likes of Phuket, Bali, Bangkok, Singapore and other South East Asian destinations (including its own compatriots in Penang and Malacca), yet is the sixth most visited city in the world; often however Kuala Lumpur is used as a city break, for business breaks (with many major trade conventions, trade and exhibition centres in the city) or as a layover, seen as a gateway to Malaysia’s other, often perceived as more interesting, landmarks.

One landmark which will remain, however, is the start and finish area of my stage, and that is Merdeka Square, or “Independence Square”, in front of which lies the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, the original British governmental headquarters of the city, Originally, this grass plaza was - fittingly enough bearing in mind this is colonial Britain - a cricket pitch; however this is destined to be preserved as the symbolic site of the proclamation of independence, with the flag of British Malaya withdrawn from the government building, and the flag of Malaya - later of Malaysia - raised in the centre of the cricket pitch to symbolise that the era had changed.


Merdeka Square

My final stage is no mere criterium, however. Instead, it is somewhat inspired by the 2012 Olympic Road Race in London, with a route travelling out of the city and around suburbs, before a few laps of a circuit with some challenges contained therein, and then returning to our starting point to finish. But while that race featured essentially a lollipop-shaped route, travelling back into London on the same roads they’d taken in the opposite direction earlier, here we depart in a different direction, heading southeast toward Cheras, instead of in the direction of Ampang Jaya and the final circuit, to take in a wider loop into the foothills of the Titiwangsa mountains, and more variety to the race.

This stands in contrast to the usual format in Kuala Lumpur; frequently this has hosted criteriums, circuit races and sprint finishes when used in the Tour de Langkawi, which it has been frequently. It appeared in the very first Tour de Langkawi back in 1996, but only as a stage start, getting its first stage finish the following year, when German track specialist Andreas Walzer won a 99km sprint stage. In 1998, a race-ending Kuala Lumpur criterium was added to the format, and this format was retained all the way until 2009, largely with criterium but occasionally with larger circuits. For most of the early 2000s, it would be a battle for supremacy between Graeme Brown and Guillermo Rubén Bongiorno, who would share the wins from 2002 to 2005 between them, often beating the other into 2nd. After a layoff in 2010, another race-ending circuit race took place in 2011, won by Guardini, before the Kuala Lumpur stage ceased to be sacrosanct in its position in the race, instead moving around the race as the course saw fit. However, Andrea Guardini is of course the king of the Tour de Langkawi, and he won five straight Kuala Lumpur stages, in 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. In 2020, however, they scared Guardini away by including a cat.1 climb, even though it only averaged about 3% - but as we all well know, that’s plenty enough to drop Andrea and he had to cede his role as champion of the city to Max Walscheid. Kuala Lumpur also hosted the Asian Cycling Championships in 2006 and 2012; in the former championship, Iranian icon Mehdi Sohrabi won gold ahead of Japanese sprinter Shinichi Fukushima (who also won some Jelajah Malaysia stages in the city) and Syria’s greatest ever rider, Omar Hasanin, and Kazakhstan’s Andrey Mizourov took the time trial ahead of Ghader Mizbani and Makuto Iijima. Six years later, a ten man group held off the bunch in the road race, with Hong Kong’s Wong Kam Po winning the reduced sprint ahead of Sohrabi and Japan’s Taiji Nishitani, relegating home favourite Muhammad Zamri Saleh (Muhammad Harrif’s older brother) to the misery of 4th place, while Kyrgystan’s best known rider, Eugen Wacker, won the ITT ahead of Dmitriy Gruzdev, the only World Tour rider on site, and Hossein Askari.



This stage is not a long one, and it’s not a super hard one, but it’s also, as mentioned, a lot more complex than we usually get on the final day in Langkawi. After heading into Cheras, we turn northeastward to head into the foothills of the Titiwangsa mountains, and include a couple of climbs in the first half of the stage. The map might make it look like we loop back on ourselves, but we don’t actually cross the race route - we turn right in the town of Hulu Langat shortly before the junction where we will approach on the same road from the north and turn right later, so the route almost reaches itself but doesn’t quite cross over.

This at least means we get to climb the harder side of the toughest climb of the day, which is also the first one, Bukit Hantu. The opposite side of this climb was used in the 2020 stage to Genting Highlands as one of the early stage ramps, and in the 2018 Kuala Lumpur stage on the final day, albeit 65km from home. Not that it’s much closer here (spoiler: it’s actually further away) but we are climbing the tougher side of the ascent, which was last seen in the first part of an otherwise flat stage into Putrajaya in the 2017 race.

Now, the Bukit Hantu climb and the Ampang Lookout climb actually back on to one another, and are frequently chained together, but in order to climb the tougher side of the Bukit Hantu climb you would have to climb Ampang first and then return to Kuala Lumpur either by doing the same climb in the opposite direction which I wasn’t keen on, or by taking a long flat road and entering the wrong part of town for what I wanted to achieve on the final stage, so instead a long loop ensues to return to Hulu Langat, also taking us past the Lepoh waterfall on the Sungai Gabai river (Sungai means river so that’s a bit of a tautology).



The route back to town is characterised by the gradual but well-trodden ascent up to Bukit Ampang, which is a classic 4-5km at 4-5% kind of grinder, nothing too serious, and tends to appear whenever Bukit Hantu does, either before or after it depending on the direction of travel. Its name is a curio, known largely as Lookout Point for many years in conflation with a popular western-themed restaurant located at the mirador, known as an exotic location to locals with the best views in town, especially at night looking over Kuala Lumpur with the mountains to your right and the sprawl down toward the Straits of Malacca to your left. The restaurant closed in 2012, and although the location has meant new eateries and a leisure complex have been constructed to replicate the cultural institution that it was, the original name lives on, and the area is known by the hybridised name of Ampang Lookout today.



Now returning to the KL conurbation, heading into Ampang Jaya, we have one final sting in the tail. After all, just heading out to Cheras, over these two climbs and back would be a stage of just 77-78km - not uncommon for final days on the Asia Tour but not really befitting of the higher level that Langkawi purports to be. So instead, we’re having a detour to the north to take on 4 laps of a 10,3km circuit which carries some inspiration from the 2012 Olympic Road Race in London as a format, while also meaning that we can put some potentially challenging terrain into the final part of the stage. It’s not especially strenuous, so if somebody has a big GC lead they’re probably not under too much threat, but they’re not out of the woods yet. If however there are close battles on the GC, well, in that case this could get interesting, in much the same way as how Tabriz Petrochemical Team used to use not the Mount Fuji hillclimb, but the ensuing Izu stage to cause all their greatest damage.

One of the drawbacks to the rapid urban expansion of Kuala Lumpur has been that, with the construction of planned cities like Putrajaya connecting it to Klang, expansion has been limited to the southwesterly direction. The Titiwangsa mountains form a natural boundary to too much extended expansion to the north and east of the city. That has not stopped planners from maximising the available space, however, and accessible hillsides facing into the city have been ripe for development as outlying suburbs. Even if not quite hill stations, these developments have often been targeted at the middle-classes and the white-collar immigrants, with leafy hilltop suburbs and vistas preferred over crowded hillside workers’ districts as had been the style during the heydays of the mines on the Malay peninsula. This has had the benefit, from a cycling perspective, of meaning improved infrastructure and transport connections from these hills to the city as a whole, and this means roads which go up and down hills which can be rode on bikes, of course. The Somerset-Ville and Ukay Heights suburbs are recent constructions, and the EKVE (East Klang Valley Expressway) interchange with the road through the suburb is more recent still. This video from 2017 shows the roads while under construction, but once you get past the urban section in the first minute or so, you can really see how the gradient ramps up and around the 3 minute mark you can see what it’s like at the top of the main climb of the circuit.


As this is a barriered road, we will climb up one side and descend the other, giving us a main climb on the circuit of 2,0km @ 5,5% after a little false flat. It is not the only climb on the circuit, however, as rather than just be a straight out and back, we have a detour on some windier roads which is essentially a kilometre up and a kilometre down into the Bukit Antarabangsa development, for 1km @ 4,6% - maybe on a flat stage I would categorise this but it really isn’t worth it, right? Either way, we have four laps of this circuit which put the summit of the main climb at 45,8km, 35,5km, 25,2km and 14,9km from the line; this means that the Bukit Antarabangsa non-climb (not categorisation worthy but might be of interest in making a previous move stick) at 42,8km, 32,5km, 22,2km and 11,9km from the line. Certainly close enough to justify trying something even if it’s wide open urban roads from here on in - especially if the gaps are just big enough to force some harder work but small enough to make it actually worthwhile to go on an exploratory gamble.

Upon leaving the circuit, 10,6km remain, of which the first third is returning to Ampang Jaya and where we left the main route back into Kuala Lumpur earlier, before turning right to continue the journey back to the heart of the metropolis, passing modern landmarks of the city like the Great Eastern Mall. It’s mostly going to be heading through urban scenery until the final 3km, which kick off when we pass what have become Malaysia’s most recognisable and iconic structures, the monolithic Petronas Twin Towers.



Constructed from 1992 to completion in 1998, these reinforced concrete tube-in-tube towers are 451,9m in height, and surpassed the Sears Tower as the tallest building in the world upon their opening. Although they would only hold the title for six years until Taipei 101 surpassed their height, and since the completion of the 679m Merdeka 118 building in 2020 they are dwarfed even within Kuala Lumpur itself, the twin towers remain nevertheless the most iconic monument to the rapid development of Malaysia and one of South East Asia’s greatest modern landmarks. This has been helped by, as they are owned by the major petroleum firm that were greatly influential in bringing Formula 1 to Malaysia, significant use of the towers in the iconography and promotion of the Grand Prix, and numerous appearances in television and film, including Entrapment, 24 and Independence Day: Resurgence. They also appear in the video game Hitman 2, and feature the world’s highest two-storey skybridge, with the towers connected on the 41st and 42nd floors respectively.

After passing the towers, it’s landmark after landmark for the bunch. The Menara Tower is next, then the Plaza City One / Menara City One combined shopping mall and apartment tower that means residents could physically live their entire lives without ever seeing sunlight. The final major corner is a 90º left-hander at the red kite; at about 500m from the line there is a 30º right hand curve, but this is not a corner but a bend in the road, so its radius is wide and there is no road furniture to worry about. This takes us past the new, far less architecturally interesting City Hall and the beautiful Panggung Bandaraya national theatre, which is scenic both inside and out.

This takes us to Merdeka Square, as mentioned earlier, where the race’s final moments will take place. Will it be a sprint with the yellow jersey enjoying mere coronation? Or will we have a frantic chase down in the finale with the classification on the line? Certainly the former is more likely, especially with these wide roads on the run-in. But then, two things really. Firstly, that was what we expected out of the 2012 Olympic Road Race whose design partly inspired this course, and of course small team sizes, variance in level between best and worst riders in a smaller péloton, and a lack of control helped produce a more exciting race and a far less expected outcome; here the race is of course much shorter, but a mixed péloton between ProTeams used to European cycling and Asia Tour regulars after 9 days of racing’s worth of fatigue and with time-gaps already pre-set may make things interesting. And secondly, even if this does go to a sprint, at least the chance is there, which is more than the Tour de Langkawi often offers on its final day.

So I guess my Tour de Langkawi is essentially a case of looking at what the current race has, and in order to spice up proceedings, taking the following steps:
including a second MTF as had been done on several occasions in the 2000s, but endeavouring to use a climb more likely to create gaps of its own to reduce dependency on Genting Highlands
Introducing three stages with puncheur options. There are a couple of potentially hilly stages in recent years using these areas but I have beefed up the Penang and Kuala Lumpur hills, and also introduced a (Unipuerto admittedly) HTF
The medium mountain stage 9, something that I cannot find any analogue for in the race’s history unless one of those stages that crossed from east to west in the early days of the race went over Cameron Highlands or Bukit Fraser on their way, these are harder to find detailed routing for.

There are a lot of options to create monster races in South East Asia. However, for the most part the péloton that tackles this type of race isn’t undertaking races at constant World Tour level difficulty, so a lot of the potential of these areas is only seen in fits and bursts. The Tour of Indonesia sometimes includes some nice multi-climb stages with genuine cat.1 and HC mountains, but it’s only the merest scratch of the surface of what that country has to offer. With the Tour de Langkawi the Malaysians do manage a better job of using what the country has, albeit their choice is far more limited than the Indonesian smorgasbord of HC mega-climbs; however the race has very much regressed in the last 15 years in terms of its design, flexibility and variety - though still retaining its status as the de facto Grand Tour of the UCI Asia Tour calendar. Here’s trying to restore justification for that status while still producing a race that won’t exclude the local teams and their CT sputniks from being competitive.
 
I've decided to create a stage race or a series of one-day races; I'm not sure what it will end up as yet or how long it will take for me to finish it. It won't be about creating great or visionary stage designs, I probably won't able to deliver that anyway.

Instead it will focus on the original Euskaltel-Euskadi team and pay tribute to some of the riders, who made an impact during the team's 20 seasons of existence. It won't be an extensive history lesson, cause LS and others would definitely be able to do that much better than I, but hopefully someone other than me will get something out of it as well.

This is the Euskaltel-Euskadi Itzulia.


The 1994 Euskadi-Petronor roster included riders like Íñigo Cuesta, Aitor Osa and Roberto Laiseka

Since the Fundación Euskadi was set up following the 1992 Grand Départ in San Sebastián, I chose the city as the starting point for this race, too. There won't be a prologue though, but I have used the first stage of that Tour as a benchmark for the length of this stage (around 200 km).

The stage will pay tribute to Agustín Sagasti, the man who brought the team its first victory on the morning stage on the final day of the 1994 Itzulia. The stage was 121 km long and took the riders from Bera de Bidasoa to the birthplace of Ignatius of Loyola just outside Azpeitia, where a time trial concluded the race later in the day.
Tony Rominger won both the time trial and the race in front of the up-and-coming Russian Evgeny Berzin, who would go on to dominate the Giro the following month, and with Francesco Casagrande in third.

Sagasti was on his own for 80 of the 121 km and won with 1:10 in front Alberto Elli and Laurent Pillon. I know they approaced Loyola from east, but I'm not sure which climbs they had to ride beforehand.


Sagasti as he looked in 1994 in the colours of the Ikurriña flag

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixDg_Q9xCZU

The video shows him winning the stage. Because of all the emotions he wasn't able to lift his arms while crossing the line. Sadly his career ended shortly after during the Vuelta a los Valles Mineros in Asturia, where he collided with a car with 90 km/h. He came from Mungia where he later died in 2009, aged 39. In 2011 the U23 Agustin Sagasti Memoriala was held around Mungia for the first time, and has been won by Juan Pedro López among others. Due to the pandemic it hasn't been staged since 2019.

Route and profile of the first stage/race






The race starts off at the cathedral in San Sebastián before heading west towards Mungia adn then westwards back again to the Loyola sanctuary. The riders will face 218 hilly km with 12 categorized climbs along the way. Most of them have been used in the Itzulia in 2022 or other years, in the Vuelta, in the Clásica San Sebastián, by other posters in this threads and/or will be used during the 2023 Tour de France


Catedral del Buen Pastor de San Sebastián was build in nine years before opening in 1897 and has been a cathedral since 1953

The city of Guernica will be visited twice. Best known for its aerial bombing during the Spanish Civil War and the subsequent painting by Picasso it is also the hometown of both Roberto Laiseka and Pello Bilbao, two riders who in total rode for Euskaltel-Euskadi for 16 of its 20 seasons, covering both the beginning, some of the highs and also the downfall(s).

Speaking of other noteworthy figures, the race also goes through Etxebarria, the hometown of beloved attacker Amets Txurruka.


The Mural del "Guernica" de Picasso, which isn't a part of the route, but could be by making the race 40 m longer


In Mungia the riders will turn left in this roundabout where the Munguía car factory, which produced the German Goggomobil under license in the 1960's, is being remembered



The sanctuary, where Saint Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491 and where Agustín Sagasti took his only pro win

























 
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Reactions: Libertine Seguros
Just to advertise for a new RDC. I need a third jury member if someone is interested. Only three participants so far. Guys like; @Netserk , @Mayomaniac , @railxmig, @Forever The Best. Are you in? Only 5 races, so should be doable.

 
Reactions: Forever The Best
Just to advertise for a new RDC. I need a third jury member if someone is interested. Only three participants so far. Guys like; @Netserk , @Mayomaniac , @railxmig, @Forever The Best. Are you in? Only 5 races, so should be doable.

Not sure if I have the time for it ( and frankly not sure if I'm ready to design races again ). Seems interesting though so will probably follow from sidelines. Hopefully someone else takes up the jury offer though, I would have probably asked for it if I had time.
 
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Just to advertise for a new RDC. I need a third jury member if someone is interested. Only three participants so far. Guys like; @Netserk , @Mayomaniac , @railxmig, @Forever The Best. Are you in? Only 5 races, so should be doable.

No. It doesn't fit the few side projects/the big project I'm working on (nearly all design I do fit in that), and it's also not the best time of the year. But I'll read it with great interest and comment the designs.
 
The second stage/race of the Euskaltel-Euskadi Itzulia will entirely take place on French soil and pays homage to Roberto Laiseka and Samuel Sánchez.

Euskadi had by 2001 grown into a team which was both capable of winning stages in the Vuelta and to reach the top 10 in GC. Euskaltel had joined as a sponsor in 1998, and the iconic orange jerseys were introduced two years later.

In ’01 David Etxebarria got the team its first ever monument podium in LBL, and Iban Mayo began his rise to stardom by winning the GP du Midi Libre and the Classique des Alpes, where he attacked early and Lance Armstrong and Pavel Tonkov couldn’t bring him back. In the Dauphiné Libéré both Mayo and Unai Etxebarria won stages and the team had three men in the final top 10.

The Maiden Tour

This year E-E also managed to tick a big goal off the list: Being invited to the Tour de France. Haimar Zubeldia, David and Unai Etxebarria, Ángel Castresana, Íñigo Chaurreau, Alberto López de Munain, Txema del Olmo, Iker Flores and Roberto Laiseka started the race with high hopes and excitement.


The pack of rolling oranges, as Danish commentator Jørn Mader liked to call them, during the TTT in 2001. Iker Flores had abandoned at this point.

David Etxebarria made the breakaway on stage 9 to Aix-Les-Bains, the day after O’Grady, Kivilev and co. took half an hour on the peloton. Etxebarria had won two stages for ONCE in 1999, but this time he and Bradley McGee lost out to Sergei Ivanov. Armstrong tricked the field on Alpe d'Huez the following day, but four minutes behind him Roberto Laiseka finished a decent 9th.

D. Etxebarria ended up in the decisive break again on stage 12 to Ax-les-Thermes, but couldn’t match Félix Cárdenas on the final climb. Behind them Laiseka, who wasn’t a GC threat, was allowed to ride away from the favourites to gain the team another second place.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng6_Marogk4

Stage 14 is the first part of this video

Stage 14 saw the last chance for Euskaltel to entertain their fans in the Pyrenees. Roberto Laiseka had already won two stages and finished 6th in the Vuelta, but he still hadn’t struck gold in France. The team helped US Postal keep the race under control on the way to Luz-Ardiden, and while Giuseppe Guerini was setting the pace for Jan Ullrich, Laiseka launched his attack. He caught Wladimir Belli with 7 km left, flew past him and held on to a historic win.


Laiseka took his biggest win before his hair turned grey

At the end of the race, Íñigo Chaurreau had climbed his way up to 12th in GC, and Euskaltel could also find encouragement in the fact that the two best Spaniards in the race, Joseba Beloki (3rd) and Igor González de Galdeano (5th), had both started their careers with the team.

Same finish, Samu outcome

The Luz-Ardiden MTF was used in the Tour again two years later, where Iban Mayo finished second to Armstrong after they had crashed together at the bottom. Then came an 8-year gap before it returned; on stage 12 on the Bastille Day in 2011.

Samuel Sánchez had been sitting at home when Laiseka won in 2001 and in 2003 he had already abandoned the Tour before the stage came about. But this time he was there, hoping to make up some of the time he had lost in the first half of the race.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofZ5VW1k4D8


After Leopard Trek had worked hard for the Schleck brothers, Samu joined a Lotto-instigated attack on the descent from Tourmalet. With Philippe Gilbert and Jelle Vanendert he caught up with a group including Rubén Pérez, who was able to help his leader in the early parts of Luz-Ardiden. Later Samu and Vanendert overtook Geraint Thomas and Jeremy Roy, but they never had much more than a minute to the group of favourites led by Sylwester Szmyd for Ivan Basso.

Less than 3 km from the top Fränk Schleck managed to break free and go in hot pursuit of the duo in front. A little cat and mousing meant that he almost closed the gap inside the final kilometre, but our Asturian hero was determined not to get beaten by a Schleck once again, and when he launched his sprint both FS and Vanendert got distanced quickly.

A fantastic victory, the last of the team’s three TdF stage wins, where Samu got to show off both his climbing and his descending skills. He also captured the polka dot jersey which he eventually won in Paris, and he’s still the only Spanish rider to have done so since Domingo Perurena in 1974.



Finally, the history lesson is (almost) over, and we can move on to the actual route and profile!

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYjbfeU6Ukw

Contador vs. Andy Schleck on Tourmalet

We also have to look back on stage 17 from the 2010 TdF. Samu was 3rd going into the Tourmalet stage, but after just 22 km, disaster struck. He was suddenly lying flat on the ground in pain and tears. But unlike Igor Anton some months later, all hope wasn’t lost yet. He got back on his bike and even increased his lead over Denis Menchov, while Andy Schleck and Saxo Bank weren’t able to break Contador. He then lost two minutes to the Russian in the final ITT and missed the podium anyway (although the official result now claims something else).


Oh, fudge!

The crash actually happened before they reached Oloron-Sainte-Marie, but I’m still going to start the race there, in front of the local campsite where I spend a night during a family holiday in 2005.

From there on follows 240 km with six categorised climbs. First up is the Col de Marie-Blanque followed by Col d'Aubisque, then the Hourquette d'Ancizan from the long and easy side and Col d’Aspin from Arreau. For this loop to work, they have to ride 7 km in both directions so they can return to the road to Tourmalet afterwards. After Tourmalet only the descent to Luz-Saint-Sauveur and the climb to Luz-Ardiden remain.



 
What is the status of the 2008 Tour de France KoM? No winner, or Sastre as the winner?

What time of the year is your race (I know such a question is besides the point)? From what I can find, Tourmalet is usually cleared of snow in May.
 
What is the status of the 2008 Tour de France KoM? No winner, or Sastre as the winner?

What time of the year is your race (I know such a question is besides the point)? From what I can find, Tourmalet is usually cleared of snow in May.
Well I meant he's still the only Spaniard since 1974 to have actually won the jersey in Paris, which wasn't the cases for Sastre (I believe he has been awarded it) and Egoi Martínez.

I haven't thought too much about an actual date, since it's mostly meant to be a fantasy race. If it becomes a series of one-day races, then it could be interesting to have this on the last Saturday of the Giro or the days just before the Critérium du Dauphiné.
 
Iban Mayo is the next rider on the list of honorees.
I had initially planned another long race, but instead I've landed on something else.

In the morning we're remembering his only Tour de France stage win; stage 8 of the 2003 Tour finishing on the mythical climb of Alpe d'Huez. That stage also included the Télégraphe-Galibier combo, which was also a part of the first stage he won in the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2001.

The team also had further successes in the following years on the Alpe d'Huez with Samuel Sánchez finishing second there in both the 2008 and 2011 Tours, plus the stage he won in the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné also went over the climb.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGTkfzpTk4g


In 2003, Mayo had aready won three stages in Itzulia plus the GC and finished second in LBL as well as having taken two stage wins in the Dauphiné, where he was able to put Armstrong in difficulty, so he started the Tour with high expectations.

On stage 8 he attacked with about 7 km to the top of AdH, right when Armstrong had neutralised one of multiple attacks by Beloki, and he reached the finish line nearly 2 minutes before Alexandr Vinokourov. The big margin lifted him up to 3rd in the standings, but his limited time trialing ability meant he had to settle for 6th in the end.


Mayomania at full display


The route is pretty much a copy of stage 19 of the 2011 Tour de France, but there are a few changes. The start will be right at the bottom of Col du Télégraphe, at the Pharmacie du Télégraphe in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. From here it's the boring old road, until the riders reach Lac Chambon, where they will turn left and ride the first 4.5 km of the ascent to Le Deux Alpes. From the city of Bons the road goes back down again. It's a bit narrow, so perhaps the Samus or Pello Bilbaos of this world would dare to give it a go before the 21 hairpins of the Alpe?

Race/stage 3a

There are some extra spikes because of the tunnels.

Cote de Bons is the first 4.5-ish km of this profile


And the descent is the first 8 km of this



After the finish the riders will have to get ready to travel 300 km for the next race, which will take place the same evening. Inspired by biathlon World Cup races, we'll have a stage in the dark. We're going to actually light up the Mont Ventoux!

It would be impossible to pay tribute to Mayo without including "The Bald Mountain", where he destroyed Armstrong in the 2004 Dauphiné MTT. Ofc we all know why he was ablle to do that, and why he wasn't able to repeat the performance in the Tour afterwards, but on this day he was the very best cyclist in the world; scraping a minute off Vaughters' record time from 1999.



View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo6iWMKv3ao


Race/stage 3b


 
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On day 4 of the Euskaltel-Euskadi Itzulia another border will be crossed. It's time to look back at the team's three stage wins in the Giro d'Italia.

After it became clear that the team had to take the Giro serious in order to maintain its WT status, they started sending stronger line ups to the Italian GT.
Mikel Nieve, who had finished 10th in the Vuelta the year before, managed to replicate the performance in the 2010 Giro. Nieve returned to the race in 2011, this time accompanied by Igor Anton, who had been a crash away from taking an almost certain Vuelta win 8 months earlier.

Having made his way to 7th overall before stage 14, which was shortened due to the omitting of Monte Crostis prompted by the horrible death of Wouter Weylandt, Antón mist have known he was in with a chance of winning on the steep slopes of the Zoncolan.
After a few attacks only Alberto Contador and Michele Scarponi were left in his wheel, but a final acceleration got the best of his two companions. The Basque star kept an advantage all the way to the top and grabbed the 3rd of his 4 GT stage wins.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpg_lJmyukY


On the next day's marathon mountain stage, Mikel Nieve got into the breakaway. On the penultimate ascent to Fedaia(!!!!!!) he went in solo of pursuit of Stefano Garzelli and eventually caught him with 6 km to go. After a little bit of rest on the former campeone's wheel, he dropped him and reached the top of Gardeccia-Val di Fassa with a 1:41 lead. And as a Mr Reliable in those years he also held on to a top 10 finish at the end of the race.

3 hours of cycling, including Nibali's unfruitful attack on the descent from Passo Giau, Nieve's win and Contador increasing his lead over the Italians
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eDUo4Q35Vw


The next edition saw the team rack up another breakaway win, when Ion Izagirre distanced the others on the final climb in Falzes. In the final year, Samuel Sánchez missed out on a stage victory and had to settle for 12 in GC.

Euskaltel's final GT stage win and Ion Izagirre's first
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ik0xOAkvlrI


Route and profile of day 4

The first part of the route is taken from Izagirre's stage win.
The rider's will head off from the Ponte Auenhaus and make their way north to Chienes, where they'll ride the climb to Falzes. From here follows a long uphill battle over 7 mountains, some of which were featured during the 2011 stage wins.

First up is Passo Gardena followed by Passo Sella shortly after. Because we're heading east and not west, we're climbng the mountains from the opposite sides from what Nieve did on his extraordinary day. That neans we're now making the 8th deadly sin; climbing Fedaia from the easier side. But to make up for it, I haven't categorised it.
The harder side of Passo Giau is next on the menu followed by Tre Croci and Sella Ciampigotto before the final ascent to Monte Zoncolan. 260 km of pure nightmare for everyone (but still far from being the hardest stage design in this thread), perhaps not for Jakub Mareczko who would probably abandon after the first 25.



 
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For the next part of the Euskaltel-Euskadi Itzulia we are crossing yet another border and now find ourselves in Switzerland.

For the 2005 season, general manager Julián Gorospe had hired the Terminaitor, Aitor González. The controversial former Vuelta winner had fallen out of favour with his two previous teams and had had to accept a huge pay cut in order to get a contract.

After he had been unable to perform as a GC rider during his time at Fassa Bortolo. things seemed to be heading in the right direction when González attacked on the Furkapass during the final stage of the 2005 Tour de Suisse and rode home to win both the stage and the race. But his career was pretty much over only a few months later and he officially retired in early 2006.




A more positive result occurred three years later on the second stage of the 2008 TdS. A nearly 200 km stage with an MTF on Flumserberg; the Swiss Zoncolan. Igor Antón had already won his first Vuelta stage in 2006 and finished 8th in the Spanish GT the following year, so it was expected that he would be ready to take on more leadership duties. A week beofre TdS he finished second behind Eros Capecchi in the last edition of Euskal Bizikleta (before its merger with Itzulia).

After struggling a bit with following the pace after Fränk Schleck put in a few digs, Antón still had a final acceleration left in his legs, and even though the rain was falling the sun was still shining as bright as the colours of his kit when he crossed the line. He would later lose too much time to Roman Kreuziger in the MTT on Klausenpass, but third place overall was still very encouraging in his preparation for the Vuelta later that year.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAVkWW3PUYo


Route and Profile

Race no 6 (or 5a) of my Itzulia is a combination of the two stages described above. Instead of starting in Ulrichen, at the bottom of the Nufenen Pass, like in 2005, it will happen in Realp instead. That means the order of the clims is Furkapss, Nufenen and then the Gotthardpass. Then they will head north across Klausenpass and the Kerenzerbergpass before arriving in Flums where they'll take on the final acent of Flumserberg. 241 km over five mountains would not be an easy day out for most riders.

 
We're staying in Switzerland for a little while longer in order to pay tribute to another legendary Samu performance. I probably wouldn't have become a lifelong fan of his if it hadn't been for the last few months of the 2006 season. One of the highlights iduring that time frame was the last pro edtion of Züri Metzgete, where Samu got a gap to Davide Rebellin, Michael Boogerd and Stuart O'Grady on the last small uphill section and was strong enough to increaes his lead on the wet descent and flat road to the line afterwards. A magnificient win, the first for him in a one-day race and the only real classics victory of his career.




Route and profile

Race 7 (or 6a) is a time trial on the Züri Metzgete circuit. I almost cut some kilometres off so that the distance would have suited Samu better, but 42 km was also the distance of the final ITT in the 2011 Tour which was one of his best, so I don't think it would have been a huge problem for him if he was on a good day and the weather wasn't the best.

 
Years ago Togo95 already made a Northern Thailand Tour, but I've come up with my own version of the Tour of Northern Thailand.
It's gonna be 5 stages and the main selling point will be the catchphrase "the hardest stage race in Asia" (the now defunct Tour of Utah called itself the hardest stage race in the US).

First of all, I really like Thailand. A lot of it comes down to my passion for Muay Thai.

I've been training it for a few years and even back in the day when the K1 kickboxing GP was still a thing I've always cheered for the Thai's over the generic 1-2-3 lowkick style that some of the Dutch kickboxers (mainly those from Mike's gym) used to have.
I know 1 or 2 people who have moved over to Thailand and are now making a living as a fighter/coach in decent sized gyms. On top of that a childhood friend of mine is also half Thai.

It took me some time to realize that Northern Thailand has some really awesome climbs, watching Aussie YTers riding there was the main catalyst.
Now to the race, what kind of riders could you expect in this one? Well, first of all Team Sapurna cycling with the Italian CT hero Celano, Team Terengganu with riders like Anatoliy Bodyak, the Mongolian Sainbayar, the Algerian sprinter Reguigui, the Eritrean Eyob Metkel and Team Ukyo with the Aussie Sputniks Dyball and Earle.
Alongside those we'd also see my favourite Russian Sputnik Igor Frolov (who has raced in Thailand before) who could be riding for one of those Chinese CT teams, Matrix Powertag with Papi Paco Mancebo and maybe some guests from Colombia. I'm mainly talking about Team Medellin with the immortal Oscar Sevilla, Reyes and Duarte. I'd also try to get Team Banco Guayaquil - Ecuador with Robinson Calapud and Tito Hernandez to start the race. If we're super lucky we might even get some special guests from Portugal. Maybe some of the riders who used to ride on the Russian teams will get a spot on a local or a Chinese Ct team.

I'll start posting the first stages this evening, have a nice day!
 
Tour of Northern Thailand stage 1: Chaing Rai - Wat Rong Khun ITT; 38.3kms


https://www.cronoescalada.com/tracks/viewTour/799465/717006

The race starts with a pretty long ITT around Chiang Rai, the 2nd biggest city in Northern Thailand that is known for all of it's temples.
The TT is pretty much all flat and not technical, around the area that surrounds Chiang Rai and ends before Wat Rong Khun, the white temple that was bought and restructured by the Artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. It's still not finished and the works aren't expected to end before 2070.
Like the name says it's all white, unlike the usually really colourful buddhist temples in Thailand and has a rather iconic look.


This one is here to give us big gaps before the hard hilly and mountain stages. Some of you might now that Northern Thailand has been blessed with lots of really hard climbs, so we need decent gaps to force people to actually do something on those climbs.
 
Reactions: Jumbo Visma Fan :)
Tour of Northern Thailand stage 2: Chiang Rai - Doisaked hot spring; 231kms


https://www.cronoescalada.com/tracks/viewTour/799461/717015

The Chiang Rai clock tower:

The climbs:
Km 121.6 Kwan Phayao, 11.4km at 4.1%
Km 152.7 Wat Phutthasri, 3.1km at 6.1%
Km 185.3 Chao Mae Nang, 2.7km at 5.1%
Km 200.3 Thep Sadet, 4.3km at 11.5%
Km 203.1 Wat Kio Tam, 1.3km at 6.2%
Km 214.4 Mae Tron Luang, 6.2km at 5.9%

Stage 2 is the longest stage of the whole race. It starts in Chiang Rai and for the first 110km it is just false flat. Then the first climb of the day starts, Kwan Phayao, 11.4km at 4.1%. It's the longest climb of the day, but with that average gradient that doesn't mean much. After 2 more pretty easy climbs we get a 10km long, but gentle descent that leads straight into to the monster of the day that starts after 196kms of racing. It's Thep Sadet, 4.3km at 11.5% with the first 3kms at 14%.
https://pjammcycling.com/climb/3819.Thep-Sadet

As you can see this one is a proper brute, but on a nice road.
Right after a really short descent (around 800m) we have the next climb, Wat Kio Tam, 1.3km at 6.2%, followed by a longer descent that leads right into the final climb of the day, Mae Tron Luang, 6.2km at 5.9%. It's nothing special, but after the brute that we had earlier on the race will be blown to pieces and gaps should only increase.
The final descent ends with 6kms to go and shouldn't be underestimated. It's not your European descent with lots of Hairpins, but all that small twists and turns in the Thai forests shouldn't be underestimate.
The stage ends right in front of the Doisaked hot spring, a well known resort in the area, so at least the riders have something to relax after such a hard stage.
 
Today, I will introduce my first ever design for a race, based upon an idea I’ve had.

The USA cycling scene has greatly been decimated throughout the years, but this race would bring it back up. Like Samu’s Euskatel homage race, it could either be a series of one day races or a stage race. However, I have a specific time period; the fall. Since the region I chose is New England, in the Northeastern part of the country, fall foliage is in full swing, to present some absolutely stunning scenery like below.



More picturesque photos will be assigned to each race, but just be in mind if the break gets a twenty minute lead the peloton will be looking at the surrounding hills ;).

Anyways, look forward to these races soon, with sometimes multiple per day depending on availability.
 
Stage 1- Worcester to Mount Greylock(226 KM)

I’m more thinking this as a stage race, but without transfer limits. Stage one of most tours are generally a time trial or a stage for punchers/ sprinters. However, this stage breaks from those norms. Not exactly a stage for the punchers, but not for the pure mountain climbers, with only a 14km climb awaiting the peloton on our journey.

We start in Worcester, the third largest city in New England, right outside Polar Park, the newly built baseball stadium for the Worcester Red Sox, the last step for minor league baseball players before reaching the big leagues with the Boston Red Sox.

Polar Park



Worcester Skyline

One of the main reasons this tour exists is the presence of highways on our route, which is purely fictional and 99.99% chance of never happening ever. Anyways, we head south on I-290 to reach I-90 in the town of Auburn.

As we head westward, we switch between I-90 and US-20 at different exits to reach Springfield, the fourth largest city in New England and certainly a historic city. There are not intermediate sprints yet, as the intermediate sprint system won’t be implemented until stage 3(Why give a breakaway any incentive to go in the break, I hate flat stage breakaways so that is the reason) However, if there was a sprint, it would be here.

Forest Park

From Springfield, we travel along US-20 through towns and bring us to a scenic byway, Jacob’s Ladder. In the fall, this would surely spark the awe of some of the peloton along the days travels.

Fall Foliage in the Berkshires
After the passing through the scenic road, we reach Lee, which is when the race turns north towards our final destination of the day. Along the way, we pass through Pittsfield, the biggest town in the region, which provides tourists a more central presence of a town in this vast region of small communities.


The race enters our closing phase, heading north of MA-7 to North Adams to reach Mohawk Trail, which is the final road before the climb begins. Mohawk Trail is rich in phenomenal photo opportunities.

Mohawk Trail
From here we take a turn onto Notch Rd, which is the accent to Mount Greylock. The climb begins at 14km’s to go, with an average accent of 5.8%. Climbers can make the race, but likely to be a solo, but anything can happen.

Profile


Veterans War Monument at the top
Stage 2 will be an ITT to balance out the climbing heavy route, with time gaps to hopefully produce more active racing for later.
Climbs
Mount Greylock, category two, 14km at 5.8%, max 10.1%
 
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Tour of Northern Thailand stage 3: Chiang Mai - Lampang; 126km


https://www.cronoescalada.com/tracks/viewTour/799501/717019
The climbs:
Km 36.3 Phra Caao Than Cai, 4.3km at 7.7%; cat. 2
Km 83.3 Khun Than, 2.5km at 6%; cat. 3
After a brutal 230km medium mounain stage we have the easiest stage of the whole race. It's a short stage for the sprinters.
The stage starts in Chiang Mai, the largest town in Northern Thailand, the 2nd largest in all of Thailand and pretty much the capital of the North.

The first 30kms are false flat and will take the riders eastwards, then we have 2kms of an 4-5% uphll drag before the first climb of the day starts, Phra Caao Than Cai, 4.3km at 7.7%. Not to bad, but probably waaay too far away from the finish to be relevant. The following descent is 3kms long and not too technical. Afterwards the riders will ride southwards on false flat terrrain for around 41kms before turning eastwards to face once again a short climb. This one is pretty easy, Khun Than, is only 2.5km at 6% and it tops with almost 43kms to go, it really shouldn't be a problem for anyone not names Jakub...
The following descent is on a fast straigt road and the final 39kms are pretty much the same, wide, staight roads and no place to hide.
The stage finishes in Lampang, a city with around 56,000 Inhabitants, mainly known for t's temples and it's night market.



This one should really be a bunch sprint. It's the only chance for the sprinters in this race, so I don't know how many would even show up, perhaps some of the hard as nails Mongolian rouleurs with a good sprint could contest the stage victory.
 
I've decided to only create two further races for my Itzulia, which means there won't be time to cover all the rest of the great wins and performances in the E-E history, but I'll do my best.

First up is yet another MTF.



Luz-Ardiden isn't the only mountain with shared Laiseka and Samu history.
In 1999 Roberto Laiseka broke away on Alto de Abantos, though other people might remember the stage better for the later ridiculously strong attack by Frank Vandenbroucke. But it was the Basque rider who took his first of three Vuelta stage wins, which was also the team's first of its 14 stage victories in the Spanish GT.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSXnkdrw0XM


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVNh99ulVJM


8 years after Laiseka's win it was Samu's turn to be victorious on the climb. He had already won the stage to Granada ealrier in the week, where Antón had set up the attack nicely before Samu closed the gap to Manuel Beltrán on the final descent and outsprinted him easily after he had refused to give Beltrán the victory.

On Abantos it came down to another sprint in which he and an up-and-coming Dani Moreno proved to be the strongest in the leading group, but Samu won the battle through the last difficult corner and came out on top in the rain. The stage is also noted for Cadel Evans' 1:25 time loss which helped Samu to finish 3rd overall after the ITT win the next day.






Route and profile for race 8 (or 7)

In 1999 they started in Guadalajara (also the start town on the day Samu won in Cuenca in 2007) and went over Puerto de la Morcuera and Puerto de Cotos before Abantos. In 2007 they started in Ávila and did the Abantos loop which was first used during the 2001 Vuelta.

In my version I've combined the two stages. The start has been mvoed to the smaller town of Torrelaguna, which was also visited in on the 1999 stage. From here the riders will climb the short La Trampa ascent followed by 13 km of easier gradients until the top of Alto de Bustarviejo (El Collado).



From here on we'll continue on the 1999 route over Morcuera, Cotos and Abantos, before doing the Abantas loop tofinish on top of the mountain. That's 169.5 km (or 167 if you use the same route through San Lorenzo de El Escorial as in 2007, but Cronoescalada wouldn't recognise Abantos if I used that, and I was too lazy to insert it myself).




I hope I will have time to finish the work for the last race later today.
 
Tour of Northern Thailand stage 4: Lamphun - Doi Inthanon; 89kms


https://www.cronoescalada.com/tracks/viewTour/799467/717003
The climb: Doi Inthanon, 38.5kms at 5.8%
After an easy stage for the sprinters we have yet another short stage, but this time it's amonster MTF on Thailands highest peak.
The stage starts in Lamphun, a small town with just under 15,000 inhabitants that is known for it's stunning temples

The first 51kms of the stage are flat and nothing but a nice warm-up for the riders.
Then the monster starts, Doi Inhanon, 38.5kms at 5.8%, with ramps at over 20%.


The average gradient doesn't tell the whole story, its an irregular climb an the final steep sections is relentless and at altitude.
It's a brute with around 2,300m o altitude gain and we aren't even using the hardest side of it. The souhwestern side is 23kms at 8.1%, but I've decided to use the more famous one here.
This one gets used in the Doi Inthanon challenge, a bit hillclimb (understatement of the century) with a mass start. Th record is held by one of our favourite Sputniks, the mythical Igor Frolov. He climbed the whole thing in 1:41:59 with an average wattage of 356W while being only 63kg. That's 5.65 W/KG for 102min on a climb that finishes ove 2,500m above sea level, no comment needed.
Here's some (rather amateurishh) footage of his performance:
The view on top of the climb is just stunning:


This one should be total carnage, those gradients on such a long climb at that atitude will create big gaps and there's more to come on the next stage...
 
It's time for the grand finale to my Euskaltel-Euskadi Itzulia, and for this we return to the Basque Country for a hilly 268 km race which will finish in Getxo.
Getxo has been chosen because it was the scene of the last victory of the orginal E-E team; the 2013 Circuito de Getxo, won by the Wolf, Juan José Lobato. Lobato is of course also a part of the current team so that builds a nice bridge to the present and the future as well.

In 2009 it was Koldo Fernandez who was victorious in Getxo, but the profile of the race was easier in those days. Since then more climbing has been added to the course, and in recent years the steep Pike Bidea has been the major key point on the final lap, which has made the race more of a battle between well climbing sprinters, puncheurs and climbers.

In my race I've replaced the Pike Bidea with the Berriz/Bagatza side of Artxanda, which is a narrower road with worse surface than Bidea, but it still has percentages of well above 10% over 1.75 km. From the top the race has the same final as the current Circuito de Getxo, but the descent into town is a little bit shorter.

On the way to Getxo to race goes through/comes close to the hometowns and birth places of many people who have played a part in the nearly 30 year history of the Fundación Euskadi. Here are some of them:

Leitza: Mikel Nieve
Ormaiztegi: Ion and Gorka Izagirre
Zumárraga: Aitor Gonzalez
Oñati: Markel Irizar
Mondragón: Iván Velasco
Bergara: Mikel Aristi
Ermua: Aitor Galdós, Aitor Hernández, Peio Goikoetxea
Zaldibar: Rubén Pérez
Abadiño: David Etxebarria
Mañaria: Mikel Bizkarra, Julián and Rubén Gorospe
Vitoria-Gasteiz: Joseba Beloki (Beasain/Lazkao), Alberto López de Munain, Igor and Álvaro González de Galdeano, Koldo Fernandez, Jon Aberasturi
Murgia: Mikel Landa
Orozko: Gotzon Martín
Igorre: Iban Mayo
Amorebieta-Etxano: Beñat Intxausti
Galdakao: Igor Antón, also briefly home for Samuel Sánchez during his first year with the Olarra development team before he settled in Güeñes, south-west of Bilbao
Bilbao: David Herrero, Txema del Olmo, Iban Mayoz, Miguel Mínguez
Lemoiz: Miguel Madariaga
Getxo: Jonathan Castroviejo, Íñigo Landaluze

The race also features roads and climbs which have been used in races such as Gipuzkoa Klasikoa, Klasika Primavera, Subida a Urkiola, Euskal Bizikleta, Prueba Villafranca - Ordiziako Klasika, Gran Premio de Llodio, Vuelta al País Vasco/Itzulia, Vuelta a España and Circuito de Getxo. All races where E-E riders have showed their colours over the years.

Race 9 (8), 268 km, 4700m



The major climbs are these:
Altzo: https://www.cronoescalada.com/puertos/view/914
Eizaga: https://www.cronoescalada.com/puertos/view/9537
Arrate-Usartza (Krabelin): https://www.altimetrias.net/aspbk/verPuerto.asp?id=767
Areitio: https://www.altimetrias.net/aspbk/verPuerto.asp?id=406
Urkiola: https://www.altimetrias.net/aspbk/verPuerto.asp?id=221
Bikotx-Gane: https://www.altimetrias.net/aspbk/verPuerto.asp?id=161
El Vivero: https://www.altimetrias.net/aspbk/verPuerto.asp?id=70
Artxanda (Berriz/Bagatza): https://www.altimetrias.net/aspbk/verPuerto.asp?id=19
Txomintxu: https://cyclingpro.net/spaziociclismo/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Circuito-Getxo-2020-UKM.png



Race 9b, 255 km, 4800-5000m

I wasn't a big fan of the flat section after Urkiola, which was required in order to get to Murgia, or the later visit to Amorebieta-Etxano, so I've also made a few other versions of the race. The first one is a little shorter, but also harder. It features most of the climbs from version one, but also has these other ones (plus it crosses the finish line twice):

Larraitz: https://www.cronoescalada.com/puertos/view/19539
Sustatxa: https://www.altimetrias.net/aspbk/verPuerto.asp?id=568
Isuskiza: https://www.altimetrias.net/aspbk/verPuerto.asp?id=125
Andraka: https://www.altimetrias.net/aspbk/verPuerto.asp?id=2
Unbe: https://www.altimetrias.net/aspbk/verPuerto.asp?id=28





My two last versions are both modifications of 9b, where either Isuskiza and Andraka are cut (9c, 238 km, 4400m) or those two plus Unbe are left out (9d, 227 km, 4200m).

I hope you have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. But even if you haven't, I've cetainly had a blast, and I could easily have written longer posts and have added more pictures and videos, but I have tried to restrain myself a bit.


I have ideas for some one-day races in Austria as well as a vision for a Deutschland Tour, which I can now devote some of my time to.
 
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