Tour of the Basque Country 2016 - Race Preview

Mikel Landa on Aia The Tour of the Basque Country (Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco / Euskal Herriko Itzulia) is one of the most prestigious stage races in professional cycling, often attracting the best Grand Tour riders. Here we take a detailed look at the route for the 2016 edition and assess the likely outcome for each stage, and for the general classification.

We examine the startlist, examine each stage and pick out the possible contenders for the race.

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Tour of the Basque Country 2016 - Stage Six Preview

Arrate from Azitain The now traditional final stage time trial with decide the winner of the 2016 Tour of the Basque Country. It is a steep climb to Arrate, followed by a reasonably technical descent. The inconsistent nature of the climb will suit punchier riders as much as pure climbers.

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Tour of the Basque Country 2016 - Stage Five Preview

Arrate Stage Five of the Basque race finishes on the region's most famous climb - Arrate. The big guns will all be looking to attack here on the steep slopes to gain precious seconds in their quest for overall victory. This is the queen stage of the race and, coming on the back of four days of tough racing, will be where the real contenders step forward.

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Tour of the Basque Country 2016 - Stage Four Preview

Aia from Aritzmendi Stage Four is the first of three consecutive stages that should have plenty of GC action. Most of the day is gently rolling, but there is a sting in the tail, with the brutal 1.4km climb into Aia via Aritzmendi. This was the star of the show in last year's edition, and should be equally explosive this time, even though it is followed by a descent into the finish line at Orio this year.

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Tour of the Basque Country 2016 - Stage Three Preview

La Piedad Climb Profile The third stage of the Tour of the Basque Country is one that the puncheurs will look to target. It is flattish for long sections, but finishes with three moderately challenging ascents in the final thirty kilometres.

Most of the first half of the stage is as flat as it gets in the Basque Country, before the route crosses into the neighbouring region of Navarra to climb through the village of Uitzi.

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Tour of the Basque Country 2016 - Stage Two Preview

Garrastatxu Stage Two of the 2016 Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco crosses from Bizkaia into the province of Alava. Most of the day is gently rolling, but it finishes with a challengingly steep climb to the chapel of Garrastatxu. There is a small chance that an earlish break will stay away, particularly if the showers currently forecast turn into heavier rain. However, with the teams still relatively fresh, this will most probably be decided on the short climb to Garrastatxu.

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Tour of the Basque Country 2016 - Stage One Preview

Ixua Profile The first stage of the 2016 Tour of the Basque Country follows a hilly course from Etxebarria to Markina-Xemein. The penultimate climb to Ixua could be the key if an attacker is to get away, otherwise this one could end in a bunch finish, as the final climb is easy and the following descent not particularly technical.

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The 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs in Spain

The 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs in Spain This is the list of what we believe are the 100 best road cycling climbs in Spain. The climbs have been chosen based on a number of factors, including: scenery, difficulty, cycling history, amount of traffic and road surface.

The list has evaluated all climbs on the mainland as well as those in the popular cycling holiday destinations of Mallorca and Tenerife. Click on the name of the climb to see the profile and more details, and let us know whether you agree with our choices in the comments.

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Vuelta Mallorca 2015 - Preview

Vuelta a Mallorca The 2015 edition of the Vuelta Mallorca begins on the 29th January and will be the first chance this season to see some of cycling's biggest names. The race has four stages, two in the mountains and two which are fairly flat, giving an opportunity for all different kinds of riders to take some early glory.

Several UCI World Tour teams will take part, including Team Sky, Movistar, Trek Cycling Racing and the newly merged Cannondale Garmin. Here we look at the route in more detail and suggest some riders to look out for on each day.

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Vuelta a España 2014 Preview

2014 Vuelta a Espana Preview The Vuelta a España in 2014 has all the ingredients to be the best Grand Tour of the year. The quality of riders is very high, with the likes of Nairo Quintana, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador among the biggest names chasing the general classification.

Discover our complete guide to all the stages and our tips on who to look out for and which riders will be challenging for each jersey.

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Cycling Classics 2014 - Ten Talking Points

Sep Vanmarcke The Spring Classics have come to an end for 2014 with a slightly disappointing Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

However, throughout the last six weeks or so there has been plenty of action and excitement - here we look at some of the main talking points and the consequences for the rest of the season.

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Vuelta a España Route 2014: The Potential Highlights

Lagos de Covadonga The route has recently been announced for the 2014 Vuelta a España. Unlike the previous few editions, there is a modest number of mountain top finishes, and the race spends nearly half the stages in the hotter regions of southern Spain.

Here we look at five of the potential highlights of the Vuelta. These range from the most beautiful climb in Spain to an exciting final day individual time trial through the streets of Santiago de Compostela.

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Mallorca Cycling Challenge 2013 Preview

Vuelta a Mallorca The 22nd edition of the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca, one of the traditional curtain raisers of the professional cycling calendar, begins amid much anticipation on the 3rd February.

The four day event, which features a series of day races throughout the island, is a chance to see how the top teams are shaping up for the long season ahead. The race has had its fair share of drama in the past, most notably of all in during last years edition.

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Top 10 Road Cyclists of 2013

Movistar Team It has been another intriguing season for professional cycling fans. There have been some big surprises and there have been some more predictable winners.

Take a look to see who Cycle Fiesta rates as the best road riders from 2013.

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Why The Tour de France is not a One Horse Race

Team Sky With the Tour de France underway, having passed around the picturesque island of Corsica, we have had the early opportunity to look at how the main contenders are shaping up.

Aside from a minor slip at the start of the opening stage, Chris Froome has looked predictably strong, even demonstrating some attacking flair by making a small break on the second day (albeit only so he could manage his own descent). It has been a significantly more problematic start for one of his main rivals - Alberto Contador. Contador was involved in a heavy crash at the end of the first stage and, although he will be fine to continue, he will certainly hope the discomfort from the road rash will have cleared up before the climbing starts in earnest.

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Why have Sky chosen Froome ahead of Wiggins to lead the Tour de France?

It Team Skyis unusual for a Tour de France winner not to try to defend their crown; however, it is not unheard of in recent times. In 2008, Alberto Contador was unable to defend the yellow jersey as his team, Astana, were not invited to take part in the Tour. Eleven years earlier, a similar situation occured to what is currently happening at Sky.

Reigning champion Bjarne Riis was replaced as leader during the tour by an up and coming Jan Ullrich. Sky clearly have wanted to avoid a repeat of this, and the potentially destructive politics that go alongside changing a leader mid-tour, by anouncing Chris Froome as their leader several months in advance.

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4 Reasons why Bradley Wiggins may not win another Grand Tour

Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins, has recently announced his and Team Sky's intention to dominate professional cycling for the forseeable future. He claims their plans are to win all three grand tours (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana) every year.

This may seem like an ambitious objective for a man and a team that have just won their first grand tour; and it fails to take into account several factors that assisted Wiggins this year.

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The Rapid Rise of Chris Froome

In July last year only hardcore cycling fans were aware of Chris Froome. However, just over a year on, he is one of the Froome was rated by team director Dave Brailsford as one of the weakest members of Sky's team a couple of years ago. He was not deemed to have either the current ability, nor the potential, to become more than a pro-conti tour winner - let alone stand twice on a grand tour podium.

There are several factors that could help to explain Froome's rise, however, with Sky being increasingly secretive about their 'marginal gains' they are all fairly speculative. Here we look into some of the possible reasons for Froome's rapid rise to the top...

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Why Alberto Contador will win the 2012 Vuelta a España

The Vuelta a Espana, which begins on saturday, is causing much excitement in cycling for various reasons. Firstly, it will mark the return to grand tours of Alberto Contador, who has completed his ban for testing positive for clenbuterol. Contador is by far the most successful stage racer of the last five years, and it will be interesting to see if he can reach the levels of the 2011 Giro d'Italia again (his last great performance).

In addition, for the first time we will see Chris Froome leading team Sky. After a slow start to the year, his unbelievable form in both the Tour de France and the Olympics will no longer just be used to pace Bradley Wiggins...

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