Vuelta a Chihuahua preview and the return of Raúl Alcalá

Posted on 06. Oct, 2008 by in race

The third edition of the UCI 2.2  Vuelta a Chihuahua starts today in Mexico with 17 teams from 8 countries vying for the overall win of the 7-stage, 875.5 km  (544 mile) race.  The big news is the return of 44-year old Raúl Alcalá who is returning to  racing after retiring 14 years ago – seems to be a trend. Alcalá who was the first Mexican to participate in the Tour de France  will be racing with the Mexican team Rica Burger.

The total purse of $80,000.00 dollars will be awarded with $10K earmarked for the overall winner and $3K for each stage winner. 

The two North American teams participating are  Garmin-Chipotle and Team Race Pro. No start list available but according to the team’s website, Garmin-Chipotle riders are  Tom Peterson, Jason Donald, Christophe Laurent, Pat McCarty and Caleb Fairly.

The European teams include  the two Spanish teams Xacobeo-Galicia  and Contenpolis-Murcia.  Elk Haus from Austria, the Swiss-registered teams NGC Medical  and Scott-American Beef  with Juanjo Cobo, José Angel Gómez Marchante, and the two teams from Portugual Lagos Benfica and Fercase Rota dos Moveis led by last year’s winner Francisco Mancebo. Asia is also represented by the Meitan Hompo GDR team from Japan.

Rounding off the roster are the Mexican teams Canel’s Turbo, Code Jalisco, San Marcos, Orven Seek, Rica Burger and Tecos Trek y Universidad de Chihuahua. Photos from the team presentation can be seen on race website (in flash),

The route is almost the same as last year except that the organizers removed the initial circuit of Ciudad Juarez and added an individual time trial for stage 4.

The 147.8 km (92 mile) stage 1 from the  Chihuahua to Camargo is  a stage for the sprinters and includes one mountain and three intermediate sprint lines.

On Tuesday October 7, the riders will be faced with the Queen stage, the 188.7 km (117 mile) stage 2 from Parral to Guachochi with five KOMs as it hits  the Sierra Tarahumara mountain range.

Stage 3 is another difficult day in the mountains. During the 155.9 km (97 mile) from Guachochi  to Creel, the riders will face 7 KOMs including the final climb to the finish line and 2 sprint lines scattered in the beginning.  

Stage 4 is still in the Sierra Tarahumara mountain range for the 18.9 km (12 mile)  time trial over rolling terrain.

Finally in stage 5, the road starts going down. After 152.8 km (95 mile) course from Creel to Cuauhtémoc with 3 KOMs, and 3 sprint lines, the riders leave the mountain range.

Stage 6 is practically all downhill.  The 126.3 km (78 mile) stage starts in Cuauhtémoc and includes only one climb and 3 sprint lines before fininshing in Chihuahua.

The race concludes on Sunday October 12 with stage 7, the 84 km (52 mile) circuit race in Chihuahua

Update: cyclingnews has posted a startlist

Here is an 8-mnute video created by the organizer and given to all the attending teams at the final reception dinner (thanks to Kevin Field):

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