In these days of the Tour de France, the name of Carlos Rodríguez is very much in vogue due to his good performances and his good current classification; a name that is also very closely linked to the Bizkaiko Bira that starts this Thursday in Bizkaia, as it appears twice (2018, 2019) in his palmarès, just like his teammate Jonathan Castroviejo, also in the Tour these days and another double winner (2004, 2005) of the same race.
Perhaps both are the best presentation of the race also the most summarised, because the list of names is increasingly extensive; in 2017, without going too far back in time, Irishman Ben Healy won, with Remco Evenepoel and Oier Lazkano joining him on the podium. A springboard, a forge, a test where the talents of tomorrow are emerging. In Rodríguez’s case, moreover, he did so as part of the junior structure of the Contador Foundation.
The historic Sociedad Ciclista Balmasedana is proposing a route for 2023 that repeats some stages (the second, starting and finishing in Markina-Xemein; the first sector of the third, in Sopela) and introduces some modifications in the routes of both the first and last day. In the end, and more with the constant offensive spirit inherent to this category, climbs such as San Cosme, Menagaray, Gontzugarai, Umbe, Abellaneda and Beci will have their weight in the development of the race. And of course the time trial climb in the second sector on Saturday: it will be short, less than three kilometres, between Gordexola and the recreational area of San Juan de Berbikez: two kilometres above 6% and a final 800 metres more gentle, around 4%.
Sergio Calvo, Gerard Cano, Iker Díaz, Samuel Flórez, Iván Loaisa and Álvar Martín, four cyclists of second year and two of first in the category, form the sextet with which, directed by Gorka Beloki, the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team will take part in this edition of the prestigious Basque race. Calvo travels to the Basque Country after having conquered the Galician regional title last Sunday with a beautiful individual exhibition.
13 July | : Balmaseda – Güeñes (94.8 km).
14th July | Stage 2: Markina-Xemein – Markina-Xemein (95.8 km).
15th July | Stage 3 (sector 1): Sopela – Sopela (68.5 km).
15th July | Stage 3 (sector 2): Gordexola – San Juan de Berbikez (2.8 km ITT).
16th July | Stage 4: Balmaseda – Balmaseda (98.3 km).