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After a long cold winter of ‘cross, the wheels start turning on 2022 men’s European road racing Sunday.
The winter hibernation is over and racers want to get their year started the right way in the opening events of the European calendar.
The season-starting Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana this Sunday won’t see any of the top-level team in action, but the one-dayer will make for an amuse-bouche before the big names roll out in next week’s Challenge Mallorca series.
The women’s peloton follows hot on the heels of the men, warming up their year at the Vuelta CV Feminas early February.
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From those curtain-raising races, the stakes keep rising and the startlists keep getting stronger as the men’s and women’s peloton dive through a series of small stage races in Spain and France through the next month.
Races like Setmana Valenciana, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Tour de la Provence and the Etoile de Bessèges will all see a swath of top-level teams muscling alongside second-division and local squads.
And those WorldTour teams won’t be sending in the “B Team.” Riders like Julian Alaphilippe, Richard Carapaz and Egan Bernal will be among those peeking over the parapet in the next few weeks.
Then before you know it, the WorldTour-opening UAE Tour and Strade Bianche Donne arrive and its full-clatter into the classics.
What to expect in the coming week?
The Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana on Sunday will be headlined by Team TotalEnergies and Arkéa-Samsic, but before you get excited, Peter Sagan and Nairo Quintana won’t be toeing the line in Spain.
The big names will instead begin to emerge from their winter hibernations at the five-race Mallorca Challenge series, starting Wednesday.
Alejandro Valverde and Enric Mas are expected to top the home team Movistar, while new jerseys and new riders will be on display from 10 WorldTour teams including BikeExchange-Jayco, Bora-Hansgrohe, Israel-Premier Tech, UAE Emirates and Trek-Segafredo. And no, Tadej Pogačar won’t be racing in Mallorca.
The GP Marseillaise will also see a stack of top squads at the start as the season starts to gather momentum with a double-header of Spanish and French racing next Sunday.
🔝 Ya puedes consultar los corredores inscritos en la #challengemallorca
🗓 26-30 enero
— ChallengeMallorca (@ChallengeMca) January 20, 2022
Movistar and Uno-X are both expected to be sending their Women’s WorldTour teams to the Vuelta CV classic when the women’s season opens up on February 6.
The four-stage Setmana Valenciana – a race that has been won by Annemiek van Vleiten and Anna van der Breggen in the past two seasons – follows close behind, February 17.
The UCI has rolled out its 2022 COVID policy in readiness for the season this past week. Racers are raring to go after an off-season of beers, burgers and base training and a final tune-up in pre-competition camps.
Riders are ready, officials are ready – are you?
Buckle up, racing starts Sunday.
Races to have on your radar:
- Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana: January 23
- Trofeo Calvia: January 26
- Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana: January 27
- Trofeo Pollença-Port d’Andratx: January 28
- Trofeo Alcudia-Port D’Alcudia: January 29
- Trofeo Playa de Palma-Palma: January 30
- GP Marseillaise: January 30
- Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana: February 2-6
- Etoile de Bessèges: February 2-6
- Saudi Tour: February 2-6
- Vuelta CV Feminas: February 6
- Setmana Valenciana-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines: February 17-20