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.
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