Rally Cycling kicks off the 2017 season tomorrow, February 11, at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia in Spain (UCI 1.1) before heading to Portugal for the Volta ao Algarve (UCI 2.HC) on February 15 -19. The events are considered premier early season races on the European calendar and Rally Cycling aims for success against the top teams in the world – including Bora-Hansgrohe, Movistar and Sky. This is the second year in a row that the team has started its season in Europe and will utilize the events to lay the foundation for success later in the season at top-level races in North America.
After a strong training camp, Colin Joyce is ready to make his mark in Europe
“We are excited to be starting the season off in Europe and are looking forward to taking part in such prestigious events as the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia and the Tour of Algarve,” said Performance Manager Jonas Carney. “We expect a tough race and tough competition from some of the top riders in the world. The team is very motivated and our early season training has prepared them well. The consensus from the guys is that training camp was more challenging than ever, and that’s good because we wanted them to be prepared for what Europe is going to dish out.”
Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia covers 182 kilometers from the Spanish cities of San Javier to Murcia and features three steep ascents with the highest topping out at 1250 meters. With the third and final climb coming 40 kilometers from the finish, Rally Cycling will look to put all-rounder riders Matteo Dal-Cin, Evan Huffman and Colin Joyce in for a chance of victory. Rob Britton, Adam DeVos, Sepp Kuss and road captain Danny Pate will support the trio.
Sepp Kuss will be looking to climb high in the general classification at the Volta ao Algarve
“Murcia and Algarve will certainly be tough races, especially as season-openers,” said Kuss. “I'm excited to test myself against some very strong riders and race aggressively. Sometimes it helps to be the underdog, and hopefully, we can use that to our advantage riding against the larger WorldTour teams.”
Despite its underdog status, Rally Cycling enters the Volta ao Algarve keen on winning stages and riding high in the general classification. With a flat finish, the first stage looks to be one for team sprinter Eric Young. However, with several punchy hills along the route, the team may look to Colin Joyce or Evan Huffman to steal the stage from a breakaway. Stages two and three will be key for general classification riders Britton, Dal-Cin, and Kuss. An uphill finish punctuates the second stage while stage three is a short, but tough 18-kilometer time trial. The fourth stage provides more opportunity for the all around riders, or Young to again show his speed. The final stage ends with a tough 2.8 kilometer ascent to Alto do Malháo. The final climb features an average gradient of over 8% and will be the perfect launch pad for Britton and Kuss to make a final assault on the general classification.
Volta ao Algarve Stages
Stage 1 | Albufeira – Lagos | 183 km | Wednesday, February 15
Stage 2 | Lagoa – Alto Da Fóia | 189 km | Thursday, February 16
Stage 3 | Sagres – Sagres | 18 km | Friday, February 17
Stage 4 | Almodôvar – Tavira | 203 km | Saturday, February 18
Stage 5 | Loulé – Alto do Malhão | 179 km | Sunday, February 19
Rally Cycling for Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia
Rally Cycling for Volta ao Algarve