Top cyclists prepare for La Vuelta in Benitachell

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IN A dress rehearsal for this Summer’s ‘La Vuelta Ciclista Espana’, Spain’s version of the ‘Tour de France’, three ex-champion cyclists will race to the top of the Cumbre del Sol mountain in Benitatchell next week.

Retired professional cyclists, Miguel Indurain, Perico Delgado and Oscar Pereiro, along with other sponsors of the Vuelta Ciclista of Spain, will test ride the local stage of the race, to the summit of Puig Llorenca del Poble Nou de Benitatxell, next Wednesday may 10.

The pro-am day of cycling, sponsored by Unipublic, teams the ex-champions with local amateur riders who are familiar with the circuit.

The 50km circuit will begin in Calpe and climb the steep road up to the summit of the mountain, most commonly known locally as Cumbre del Sol, passing through Moraira on the way back to it’s finish back in Calpe.

The race will follow the exact route of the end of the local stage of the Vuelta a Espana, which returns to the area in late Summer, on August 27.

In 2015, one of the stages of the Vuelta ended in the Poble Nou de Benitatxell, and more specifically on our Puig Llorença (Cumbre del Sol) and was won by Tom Domoulin.

The stage had such an impact on the cyclists, who were pushed to their maximum by the ferocity of the terrain and the spectacular scenery around Cala Moraig, that the organisers of the Vuelta have decided to repeat this great challenge and return to the area in 2017.

The organiser fell in love with the mountain in 2015, with it’s steep climbs and 22% incline they felt it had everything to succeed in the world of cycling.

The ascent pushes the competitors to the limit and the landscape, with the beach, the cliffs is extraordinary and rare within the world of cycling.

On August 27 the race stage begins in Orihuela and finishes in Calpe after it’s climax at the top of Cumbre del Sol.

The Three ex Spanish professional cyclists pitting their wits against the mountain next Wednesday have a wealth of tour titles under their helmets.

Miguel Indurain, 52, who has a house in Benidorm, won five consecutive Tours de France from 1991 to 1995, the fourth, and last, to win five times.

He won the Giro d’Italia twice, becoming one of seven people to achieve the Giro-Tour double in the same season. He wore the race leader’s yellow jersey in the Tour de France for 60 days.

And since the revoking of Lance Armstrong’s seven wins, he now holds the record for the most consecutive Tour de France wins and shares the record for most wins with Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx.

Perico Delgado, 57, won the 1988 Tour de France, as well as the Vuelta a España in 1985 and 1989. He works now as a sports commentator for Televisión Española during important cycling events.

Oscar Pereiro, 39, won the 2006 Tour de France, after the original winner Floyd Landis was disqualified for failing a doping test after his stage 17 victory.

In a complete change to previous years, this year, the Vuelta a Espana will begin in France for the first time.

The competition starts in Nimes on August 19 and will end in madrid on September 10, but the short passage to the top of the Cumbre Del Sol mountain has managed to stir the emotions of the riders and Spanish cycling press alike. One journalist enthused that: “In those 4 kilometers more things happen than in a thousand-page novel.”

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