After a Mediterranean season opener in Mallorca, the men of Rally UHC Cycling travel to the Spanish mainland to tackle three different races over the course of eleven days. First on the calendar is the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, a five-day stage race on Spain’s eastern coast from February 6 – February 10. Next is Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia, two one-day races on February 15 and 16. The tripleheader concludes with the Clasica de Almeria, a single-day race packed with climbs on February 17.
The team brings a rotating roster to tackle this challenge that includes Robin Carpenter, Emerson Oronte, Colin Joyce, Matteo Dal-Cin, Nigel Ellsay, Kyle Murphy, Ryan Anderson, Gavin Mannion, and Svein Tuft.
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana is a five-day stage race in the Spanish Valencian Community that will showcase an abundance of talent from the cycling world. With the defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and reigning world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) taking the start, Rally UHC Cycling brings a talented roster to compete that includes Robin Carpenter, Emerson Oronte, Colin Joyce, Nigel Ellsay, Kyle Murphy, and Svein Tuft.
The race opens on February 6th with a 10 km individual time trial from Orihuela to Seminario Diocesano de San Miguel. The winner of the time trial walks away with the race’s first yellow jersey and puts their name at the top of the list of overall contenders. The second stage, with the last 40 km running steadily downhill, will be a good opportunity for Rally UHC Cycling’s leadout train to deliver Colin Joyce to the finish.
With a stage victory in last year’s Arctic Race of Norway and multiple top-ten finishes in Spain, Joyce is looking forward to his first race start of 2019.
“I did this race last year and really wanted to come back. It’s not just the course profiles that make this race exciting but also the competition. Everyone wants to start the season on a high note and our team is no different. We’ll race hard and put ourselves in the position to be successful.”
Day three sends the race through the hilly countryside from Quart de Poblet to Chera. The 194 km route features six major climbs before an uphill drag to the finish. With a breakaway likely, look for Carpenter and Dal-Cin to be in the mix early.
The peloton faces the Volta Valenciana’s queen stage on day four where the competition for the overall will be decided. Immediately following three intermediate climbs lies the summit finish to Santa Llusia hermitage in Alcossebre, a grueling final push averaging 9.7%. Climbers Oronte, Ellsay, and Murphy will look to climb the overall standings on this stage.
The sprinters come to the fore on the stage five finale, an 88 km stage starting and finishing in the coastal town of Valencia. Riders in the overall will defend their positions while the leadout teams do battle.
Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia
The team departs Valenciana for Murcia for the second leg of the campaign, the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia. Comprised of two UCI 1.1 one-day races, these long routes take riders through various towns in eastern Spain. To curb the potent group of riders at Vuelta Murcia, Rally UHC Cycling brings a roster featuring Robin Carpenter, Emerson Oronte, Matteo Dal-Cin, Nigel Ellsay, Kyle Murphy, Ryan Anderson, and Gavin Mannion.
The first day of racing takes place on February 15th and will take riders 188 km from Yelca to San Javier. Here, look for the mountain of Alto Cabezo de la Plata to break the peloton apart. With the peloton in pieces, it’ll be up to the sprinter’s teams to reel in the inevitable breakaway before the finish.
The next day cyclists will ride 177 km from Beniel to Murcia. At this stage, riders will endure a brutal trek to the top of the Collado Bermejo, a first category climb. This section of the stage will drastically reduce the size of the peloton as teams look to control things for a small bunch sprint.
Clasica de Almeria
The 34th edition of the Clasica de Almeria, a UCI 1.HC one-day race in southern Spain, concludes the campaign for Rally UHC Cycling. As a one-day race, the Clasica de Almeria is billed as a sprinter-friendly Spanish classic with no significant climbing in the final 100 km of racing.
This year’s race will see cyclists navigate the province of Almeria to the tune of 182 km. Rider position will be vital as riders face four climbs early in the race; the Alto de Cuesta Blanca, Collado de Lucainena, Balcón de Sierra Alhamilla and finally the Alto de Turrillas. After conquering these challenges, the peloton will navigate strong crosswinds ahead of the anticipated sprint finish.
In an effort to tackle the challenge of this strenuous race, Rally UHC Cycling starts Robin Carpenter, Emerson Oronte, Colin Joyce, Matteo Dal-Cin, Nigel Ellsay, Ryan Anderson, and Svein Tuft.