Canadian Ryan Anderson put in some hard work over the weekend to make two top-25 placings in Spanish one-day races Vuelta Ciclista de Murcia and Clasica de Almeria, both high marks for his Rally Cycling team. Anderson now heads to another Spanish affair, the 2.HC-rated stage race Ruta del Sol, where ex-teammates Chris Froome and Mikel Landa will lock horns starting Wednesday.
Mr. Consistency AKA @r_anderson1987 finishes top 25 in both @VueltaMurcia and @Clasica_Almeria in Spain. Whether there are crosswinds or climbs, this guy puts his head down and goes to work. #respect #toughasnails #welcomeback #leadbyexample pic.twitter.com/l2unUiGxEC
— Rally Cycling (@Rally_Cycling) February 11, 2018
Anderson will be in Rally’s Canadian contingent for the Ruta del Sol, the same one that raced the Clasica de Almeria: Anderson, Nigel Ellsay, Matteo Dal-Cin and Rob Britton. Adam de Vos was in the Canuck quartet at Valenciana in Ellsay’s stead. De Vos will be racing the Tour of Oman this week.
— Rally Cycling (@Rally_Cycling) February 13, 2018
At the Ruta del Sol, Mikel Landa will wear the number 1 jersey for Movistar in lieu of new teammate Alejandro Valverde, winner of five of the last six editions. Landa transfers in after two years with Sky. Working for Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru at Astana led to working for Chris Froome at Sky. In last year’s Tour de France, Landa had scintillating form but had to hold back to assist Froome, finishing one-second off the podium. Now with Movistar, Landa will get his protected rider chances in 2018 at non-Grand Tours, as he’s slated for the Tour and Vuelta a España alongside Nairo Quintana, where the Colombian will have priority. Valverde will contest the Giro d’Italia.
Chris Froome is the only rider besides Valverde to win the Ruta del Sol over the past six years. Of course, the Brit is racing under a cloud. EF-Drapac principal Jonathan Vaughters is the latest notable cycling voice to call either for Froome to withdraw himself from competition or for Sky to suspend him.
Hopefully, the Froome controversy won’t overshadow the racing. The course is hilly from Stage 1, with five categorized climbs on tap for the second half. Stage 2 features the race’s big summit finish.
📣 Disponible el Rutómetro de la 2ª Etapa de la 64ª Ruta del Sol, Vuelta Ciclista Andalucía.
Jueves, 15 de febrero: Otura (Granada) – La Guardia de Jaén, Alto Allanadas (Jaén)
— Vuelta a Andalucía (@VCANDALUCIA) February 1, 2018
Stage 3 is one for the sprinters; EF-Drapac’s new fellow Sacha Modolo hopes to score then. The next day throws a big climb smack dab in the middle of the route and ends with a short, sharp ascent to the line. The 64th Ruta del Sol ends with a somewhat-flat, 14.2-km time trial.