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Preview: GP Miguel Indurain

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Spain_medium Road Race Courses tend to fall into one of several categories. The GP Big Mig is no exception. It is very similar to Amstel Gold, La Fleche Wallonne, and the Giro dell'Emilia and such stages as Tirreno-Adriatico's Wolf Mountain: all of these, which tend to be somewhat to very hilly, leave their final selection for the last one or two kilometers. The most famous of these is La Fleche's Mur de Huy with it's 1300 meters of straight upness but each of these races features a really steep finale that determines the winner.

 

As I said, Big Mig is such a race course. As you'll see on the flip, the race winds around the Navarro, taking in five categorized climbs, two 3rds, two 2nds, and a 1st category climb. These climbs tend to winnow the peloton down to thirty-odd riders. But it's the last uncategorized 900 meters at an average gradient of 8.2% that will determine the winner. 

As you can see the course even looks like Amstel what with the way it bends back on itself.

Big_mig_course_medium

So who contests this race? Ardennes riders of course. Guys like the Schlecks, and Kolobnev, and J-Rod. Fabian Wegman has won this race twice. David De La Fuente is the defending champ. This is not a race for sprinter y types.

Oh, and there's one other rider who will be there: Alejandro Valverde. Nope, he's not suspended by either the UCI or his team. In fact it appears that his team is trying to get as much out of him as possible before he gets suspended what with the amount of races he's doing this spring. (After this: Pais Vasco and the Ardennes trio.)

Not much else to say in about the race is there. Talking about Valverde at this point is a sure fire way to clear the room. So I'll leave you with video of the last 5 km of last year's race so you can get a feel for how this race ends. What's really interesting here is how Valverde is all set to win the race but the moto cam in front of the group crashes and causes him to lose all of his momentum. (I figure you would like that.) My pick for the win? J-Rod.