It all starts out in style with a 144 kilometres course in stage 1, offering no less than eight climbs with the last one crested at 8 kilometres before the finish line. The following day the race even kicks up a notch when stage 2 finishes on top of a short and explosive closing climb with grades up to 20%.
Stage 3 contains five mountains, while the centrepiece is in the finale. In a frame of around 25 kilometres the Aritxulegi, Agiña and Alto de la Piedad are on the menu, and that last peak is crested with 9 kilometres to go. Stage 4 brings the calf crusher also known as the Wall of Aia from different sides, after which the finish line is 13 kilometres down the road in Orio.
In the last two stages the famous Santuario de la Virgen de Arrate plays a pivotal role. Stage 5 is set to finish there following a race taking the riders over eight peaks. The last one is the tough climb up the Uzartza – 5.5 kilometres at 8.5% – before the final 2.2 kilometres are on rolling roads with the final section slightly downhill. The closing stage is an individual chrono taking the riders up the Uzartza and past the Sanctuary again.
All in all, the 2016 Tour of the Basque Country is tailor made to detonate the fireworks.
Tour of the Basque Country 2016: Route maps, height profiles, etc.
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