The Kometa-Xstra, before a Tour of the Valencian Community to be decided in the Sierra de Bernia
71ª Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana
From 5 to 9 February
The traditional start of the continental structure of the Alberto Contador Foundation in its first two seasons of existence, the debut in the Challenge of Mallorca has turned the Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana into the second competitive commitment of the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team 2020. And therefore, consequently, an appointment to which one arrives with an always important greater rate of competition.
The Hungarian Márton Dina, the Danish Mathias Larsen, the Spaniards Alejandro Ropero and Diego Pablo Sevilla; and the Italians Giacomo Garavaglia, Antonio Puppio and Riccardo Verza compose the team that will face the five days of race in the Levant. A young and versatile ‘seven’ where there is no lack of all-roaders, climbers and sprinters. In short, a team that seeks to be the protagonist in a round where up to twelve World Tour teams and six other professional continental teams will take part.
Only Diego Pablo Sevilla is repeating in comparison to last year’s team, of which three cyclists have gone on to the World Tour (Spain’s Juan Pedro López, Luxembourg’s Michel Ries, Italy’s Stefano Oldani) and another has withdrawn due to injury (Spain’s Juan Camacho). “Only with the level of participation that there will be in this race already will it be hard, but also this year in the team we arrived much more rolled. Last year we started competing here, but this year we all arrived with a minimum of three days of racing in our legs and a short rest before the start which will surely allow us to assimilate all the efforts and arrive with that little bit more than last year we didn’t have”, says the Spaniard.
The itinerary proposed by the organization headed by the Casero brothers this year does not have a time trial on its route, but it has programmed two finals that will make differences. The first one, in Cullera, is shorter and not so demanding, and it will reach the vicinity of the weather radar located in the Muntanya de les Rabosses, the popularly known as ‘La Bola de Cullera’, which is planned for the second of its five days of racing. Another one, in the penultimate stage, undoubtedly queen stage, in the Sierra de Bernia. Cycle tourists in the area call it ‘the Angliru of the South’, although Bernia is, in itself, worthy of avoiding any comparison. Its summit, at 711 metres, is reached after a little over five kilometres, where the average gradient is over 11%, with ramps of over 20%. Quite a challenge.
“Two high finals over five days. We have had the opportunity to recognize the end in Cullera, which has its hardness. Besides, the starting area is not easy and it will hurt. And then the stage of Bernia, the queen. We know from good hand that it is a very hard climb. But also the first or the third stage will have its difficulty. The days of Vila-Real or Torrevieja on the profile do not seem demanding, but then in reality it is never like that”, concludes Sevilla.
February 5: Castellón-Vila-Real, 180 km.
6 February: Torrent-Cullera, 181 km.
February 7: Orihuela-Torrevieja, 175 km.
8 February: Calpe – Sierra de Bernia, 170 km.
9th February: Paterna – Valencia, 98 km.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)
? Photos of Bernia thanks to Joaquín Calderón / Ciclismo a Fondo