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Vuelta a Pais Vasco Preview

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The racing action is quite literally non-stop this week, and chances are that by the time you read this the racing in the Basque Country will already be underway. Another good bet is that as you're reading this, the Pais Vasco peloton will be climbing.

First off, I fixed the link to the official race website in the right sidebar. It's a useful site, with plenty of stage info in exquisite detail. Check out the stats for monday's stage, a warm-up with a mere nine rated climbs.

The course consists of 35 climbs in five stages, leading up to a final day time trial of 14 relatively flat km. Most of the climbs are in the cat-2 or 3 range, but stage 4 finishes with a long cat-1 climb, so the race will be at least partially made there.

The startlist consists of lots of climbers who could make the race, depending of course on where they are in their programs. Alberto Contador comes in as the Pro Tour leader -- a chance to flash the jersey! -- and officially launched on the path to stardom. Alejandro Valverde and Damiano Cunego are the biggest stars (and it's hard not to respect all the race days Valverde is racking up)... but both are eyeing late April peaks and may hold back some. Other stars include Carlos Sastre, Frank Schleck, Dennis Menchov, Thomas Dekker, Mick Rogers, Davide Rebellin, Cadel Evans, Danilo DiLuca, Igor Astarloa, and Sammy Sanchez. To a man, these are guys with future priorities. So that leaves defending champ Jose Angel Gomez Marchante to battle it out with Saunier Duval teammate Iban Mayo as well as the entire Euskaltel team.

Tune in to CyclingFans.com for instructions on live broadcasts. Cycling.TV will be resting up for live when not showing Gent-Wevelgem.