Cycling: Contador ready for "war" as Vuelta unveils punishing route

Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:43am EST
 

By Alasdair Fotheringham

VIGO, Spain (Reuters) - Alberto Contador declared "it will be war" after he studied the route for this year's Vuelta a Espana race which will feature a record 11 summit finishes for a Grand Tour.

Organizers unveiled the route on Saturday which will begin on August 24 in Galicia's rugged Rias Baixas regions. Riders will have to tackle a first category mountain-top finish as soon as stage two.

They then face three summit finishes in Andalusia, three in the Pyrenees before culminating in the 13 km Angliru, reputedly Spain's most difficult climb.

"It will be war right from the second stage and it's going to be very, very hard," last year's winner Alberto Contador told reporters.

"It's true that many of the stages are short but they've put the toughest climbs in the last 40 or 50 kilometers and that's when the overall contenders are fighting the hardest.

"We saw last year that race-winning attacks can happen on all kinds of stages, but we will have to be in good shape right from the start of the race. There are no quiet moments."

Fellow Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez, the world's top ranked rider, added: "It'll be survival of the fittest."

This year's race will enter unexplored territory when the opening 27 km team time trial starts on a giant raft, used usually for seafood farming in one of Galicia's many fjords.   Continued...

 
Team Saxo Bank rider and winner of the 2012 Tour of Spain, Alberto Contador (C) of Spain speaks during the 2013 Tour of Spain cycling race presentation in Garcia Barbon Theatre in Vigo, Northern Spain January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal