The 2016-edition of the Ruta del Sol, or Vuelta a Andlucia, offered only one big mountain stage, while the 2017-edition is marked by more mountains and hills. Yet, the individual time trial is much shorter. Riders who are eyeing up the overall have to be alert from day 1 onwards as the 1st stage is taking in a number of tough climbs. Then stage 2 will be the Queen Stage.
If the 37-year old Alejandro Valverde wants to take his fifth overall victory, he has to be wide awake. Not only the route of the 2017 Ruta del Sol demands it, his rivals are ready to strike also. Think the likes of Alberto Contador and Thibaut Pinot.
Yet, if we take a look at the start list and the riders who did win the Vuelta a Andalucia before – Valverde is the only rider who is featured in both lists. In fact, he is record holder with four overall victories and seven stage wins in the Ruta del Sol. Furthermore, he is in good shape after winning last week’s Vuelta a Murcia with an agressive solo attack of 70 kilometres.
Favourites Ruta del Sol 2017
*** Alejandro Valverde, Alberto Contador, Thibaut Pinot
** Wout Poels, Mikel Nieve, Ion Izagirre, Mikel Landa
* Sebastien Reichenbach, Warren Barguil, Rigoberto Uran