37th Vuelta Ciclista a Zamora
From 14 to 17 July
Four months later, the competition in the Spanish amateur field returns, longed for, expected. The new normality in the amateur cycling comes from the hand of six days of cycling in the province of Zamora sponsored by the Club Deportivo Ciclismo Zamora. Between 14 and 17 July, firstly, the Vuelta Ciclista a Zamora; on 18, the Trofeo Excelentísimo Ayuntamiento; and finally, on 19 July, the San José Trophy, once known as Iberdrola. Three trials to instil optimism and revitalize the competitive landscape after a health emergency and a lockdown. The Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team u23, present in all of them, assumes the invitation with desire and ambition.
“There was always uncertainty from the first moment because it was not known exactly when the competition would resume, when it would come back”, said Manuel Campesino, director of the event, recently on Radio Demarraje. “From the first moment we have continued working, without knowing the date, but it is true that a Vuelta is not prepared in fifteen days. It takes a very long time and we have continued to work all these months. We have also had the support of sponsors and institutions”.
The coronavirus pandemic has invited some extraordinary measures in the field of security and risk reduction. To begin with, the Zamoran race reduces the number of teams and participants: six members (plus three staff members) for each of the sixteen squads present, so as not to exceed one hundred riders in the peloton. There will also be no signature control, although all cyclists, with their masks on outside the competition, should pass through a zone specifically prepared for temperature taking before the start.
“After these months, the kids are really looking forward to the competition. It’s absolutely understandable. But you also have to keep your feet on the ground. This is starting again and you can’t go crazy either”, says the director of the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team Rafa Díaz Justo. The team from Madrid will be composed by the Balearic Joan Martí Bennassar, the Asturian Edu Pérez-Landaluce, the Riojan Arturo Grávalos, the Pucelian Vicente Hernaiz and the Andalusian Mario Vilches and David Martín. “I can’t wait to compete again,” said a Martín who has been concentrating on Béjar, in the Central System, in recent weeks. “The motivation is enormous, I’m really looking forward to starting. Maybe I don’t feel like it, but I can’t wait”.
Four demanding stages, with an initial time trial and three stages in line where either the wind or the orographic difficulty, with high and sloping finishes, will put the participants to the test and will stage the fight for the overall of the first cycling lap of this new normality. Four days where things can always happen. To begin with, a 3.4 kilometre time trial from Los Molinos beach, in the area of the Valparaíso reservoir, to the urban centre of this Zamorano town at the foot of the Sierra de la Culebra. For Wednesday, a tour of the regions of Tierra del Pan, Tierra de Campos and Toro is not easy. On Thursday, a mountainous journey through the region of Sanabria and passing through Galician lands. To comply, complicated stage in the region of Aliste, always exposed to the winds, with several climbs of entity and final in Viñas.
The sixth of the Kometa-Xstra will suffer some variations in view of the Trofeo Excelentísimo Ayuntamiento and the Trophy San José. Both Yago Segovia and Fernando Tercero will enter the team and depending on how the Vuelta a Zamora evolves it will be decided by whom. The Trofeo Excelentísimo Ayuntamiento de Zamora presents a measured mileage and its route goes into territories that will be faced again a day later. In the Sunday San José, in the routes of the old Iberdrola that have been developed uninterruptedly since 1949, a very demanding profile that plays with the orographies carved by the Duero and Esla and reservoirs such as Castro, Ricobayo, San Román.
The enormous desire to compete is a common denominator in all the riders. “I feel very good and motivated, I’m looking forward to starting now, even more so after so much time training and sacrificing for this moment. The motivation is maximum, focused on each of the races that I’m going to compete. And I hope that all this work done during these hard months will bear fruit. I think I’m in good shape. And on top of that we start with a prologue, what more can I ask for? I am a specialist in this type of race, I have to prove it. And hopefully more time trials and prologues will be presented in the future. Zamora’s prologue is quite good for me, with a lot of area to shoot except for the final part, where there is an alley to the finish line; but you can take advantage of the flat ground to get those seconds that determine the winner in this type of prologue, since the differences are very small”, says Joan Martín Bennassar. Mario Vilches, from Jaén, agrees: “We are more eager than ever to compete again after the break. We must give everything in each race as if it were the last. I’m in pretty good shape, as we’ve worked really well and I’ve been as motivated as possible to keep on doing things well”.
Arturo Grávalos: “Of course, everyone will arrive with a lot of desire to resume the season. I have been studying the route and I think that the key stage will be the third one. The prologue will make little difference, in the second I foresee a sprint, but that third stage is very hard. The fourth stage also has a highly explosive finish, there may be differences there. It is very sure that many riders will join the Tour with the classic one and those two days will be an extra effort, an additional wear and tear. Both the team and I think we arrived at a very good point to compete”.
“After all the uncertainty we have lived with the health emergency and not knowing when we would race again, we were looking forward to the Vuelta. We have a great team and I’m sure we’ll do well. In the end all this is like making your debut again this season. Personally, I am very motivated and I want to do well, but I also want to enjoy every second of it. Right now, with all this health problem, we don’t know when we could stop the calendar again”, concludes Edu Pérez-Landaluce.
37th Vuelta Ciclista a Zamora.
14th July: Villardecievos-Villardeciervos (3,4 km ITT).
15th July: Villaralbo-Roales (141,3 km).
16 July: Mombuey-Aciberos (139 km).
17 July: Mahide-Viñas (131.6 km).