Vuelta a Aragón
Aragón (España), del 11 al 13 de mayo
After the presence in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, a race that was also the official premiere of the formation in official competition, the continental Polartec-Kometa faces its second test by stages in Spain in the framework of the reborn Vuelta Ciclista a Aragón, which takes place between Friday and Sunday. The Aragonese round, organised for the first time in 1939, although consolidated between the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, was one of the first victims of the economic crisis that hit the world of Spanish cycling at the turn of the century. The last edition was held in 2005, with a victory for a young man from Alicante named Rubén Plaza. The progressive withdrawal of sponsors and support made his organization impossible, despite several attempts to revive it. Looking ahead to 2018, thirteen years after its last edition, the race is back on the roads thanks to the support of the Aragonese Cycling Federation and the Regional Government.
The proposal of the route goes through three stages in line. The first one, ending in Caspe, will take place in the Alto del Castillo. The second, with a finish in Zaragoza, the capital city, is a clear choice for fast men. And a last one, also short, in which the general classification will be decided a priori to reach Ampriu, the highest point of the Cerler station (Pyrenees). An ascent that reaches 1,930 metres in altitude after just over 14 kilometres of ascents, maximum ramps of 15% and an average of around 5.5%.
Polartec-Kometa have a diverse squad of riders including Isaac Canton, Juan Camacho, eritreatn Awet Habtom, Kevin Inkelaar from the Netherlands, Matteo Moschetti from Italy, Wilson Peña from Colombia and Michel Ries from Luxembourg. “The current condition is very good, the sensations are excellent. You’ve been working pretty well the last couple of months. For this race I hope to see reflected the work done, to be able to be in front with the best in each stage and to be able to make a good general. I don’t know Cerler, but I have studied it, it’s a hard climb”, says Peña. Inkelaar, who is returning to competition with the team after Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta, tells: “I don´t have a real expectation. I`m excited and looking forward to go in ‘race mode’. I hope to do some good. The Vuelta a Aragón is a big race. And I think it’s very important to race as always, as a team, go all in and fight for every place”.
Jesús Hernández, director: “It’s only three days, but it’s very definite. A flat first day, with a two-kilometre uphill finish, then a flat finish in Zaragoza, and then an arrival for climbers. Taking Matteo with us, the mission is clear: one hundred percent with him the first two days, with the doubt of knowing if the first day’s climb really doesn’t hide a trap, because if it isn’t so in Greece he already proved his quality in a similar climb. In the second stage, that bet is clearer, although we’ll see how the wind is holding up. We’ll give it our all to try to keep the day in check. For the third day, short stage, we have riders like Awet, Wilson, maybe Kevin… or Ries, who comes with a good form point from the Tour of Brittany. It’s a day they have to give it their all. We already know what it’s like to run these races with some WorldTour team. We want to have a presence in the race and we will try to have a presence in the leaks, if a big leak is formed”.
Friday 11: Teruel-Caspe, 180 km.
Saturday 12th: Huesca-Zaragoza, 194 km.
Sunday 13: Sabiñánigo-Cerler (Ampriu), 126.6 km.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)