54th Circuito del Guadiana
1st March: Don Benito – Don Benito (174.4 km)
A fundamental test in the calendar, an already classic appointment to open the Spanish Cup. The Circuito del Guadiana of Don Benito (Badajoz) returns for another year to host the opening shot of the Spanish Cup. And it does so in a triple way, as the classic Elite-Sub23 event and the growing Master event (underway since 2018) are now joined by the junior race. The three races held by the Peña Ciclista Guadiana host the inaugural event of the great one-day cycling tournament in the Spanish calendar.
A weekend of great level in Extremadura, a land where the cycling has its focus full of vitality, as it is the case, but where some more races are missing, with its once prestigious and international Vuelta a Extremadura at the head. But in a sport that year after year suffers changes in its calendar, the constancy and the good health of the Circuit of the Guadiana are appreciated. And a lot. Its winners, looking back at the list of winners of the last years, have managed to make the jump to professionalism. The last one, without going further: the Catalan Gerard Armillas, who today competes in Portugal.
The Circuito del Guadiana (Guadiana Circuit) is a race characterized both by the high speed at which it is disputed and by the ease with which it can be resolved in a reduced sprint. Being one of the most extensive of the calendar in terms of mileage, the passage (really four steps) through the demanding wall of the town of Magacela hardens more than it selects in a comprehensive manner. In any case, the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team u23 arrives at a very good moment, with full of victories in the two competitions that it has disputed until the date: triumph of the Italian Alessio Acco in the Memorial Chineta and double more general triumph for David Martín in the Memorial Sanroma.
Both Acco and Martín have been called up by Rafa Díaz Justo for this event. Joan Martí Bennassar, Arturo Grávalos, Vicente Hernaiz, Álex Martín and Yago Segovia complete the ‘seven’. Mario Vilches appears as a reserve in case there are any last minute absences. Bennassar, Grávalos and Segovia return to a race in which they were already with the Foundation in 2019. “Don Benito’s race is always a mystery because it is the first Spanish Cup,” says Segovia. “The route a priori does not say much but we have seen other years that the race can be turned around with a good tactic. For my part, I’m looking forward to it and I’m very motivated. I think that we have a great team to fight for the victory. The beginning of the season has been unbeatable, it is a season with very good expectations, but always having the feet on the ground, because there is a lot of year left”.
The ‘veteran’ Joan Martí Bennassar: “We are facing an important week to host the first test of the Cup, we can make a very nice race. It’s a competition that as Rafa always tells us at the end we have to face it every day, we do not focus on a general first that of course we will play if the situation is given. Let’s go race by race. The Guadiana Circuit is a race that suits us very well; it’s one of my favorite events: it only has one downhill, but at the same time it’s hard because it’s long, normally there’s always wind, there are many attacks and it’s a race that goes very fast. You also have to fight to keep the position before the break, which is key to avoid hardship and avoid wear and tear to get to the last two or the last pass through Magacela. The team itself is very united, very compact; we have very fast people like David, like Vicente, and riders like Yago, like Arturo, like myself, who are doing well in the flat”.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)