CyclingPub Preview: 37th Vuelta al Ecuador
Nov 22 2020 06:03 am CET

CyclingPub Preview: 37th Vuelta al Ecuador
CyclingPub Preview: 37th Vuelta al Ecuador
Photo by ASO/Thomas MAHEUX

The last race of the UCI America Tour of the season, the 37th edition of Vuelta al Ecuador, is about to start this Monday, November 23. This 2.2 category race was about to be cancelled earlier in the year due to the global Covid-19 pandemic but it is finally going to be held around the celebration of Richard Carapaz' great season.

By Marcelo Hernández

On the same way European races did it, organizers of the Ecuadorian competition have put a ‘Vuelta bubble’ in place to deal with the threat of Covid-19 and to be allowed by health authorities to hold it in the first place. Across the route, hotels have been selected and cleared for the exclusive use of the riders and staff, and fans won’t be allowed to be in the start nor finish line of each stage. Nevertheless, in order to make the race more accessible for fans, organizers have announced that for the first time in its history the race will be televised live.

This year’s Vuelta will include six stages across the northern region of Ecuador, in which are located the provinces of Carchi and Sucumbíos, home of Carapaz, Jonathan Caicedo and Jhonatan Narvaez. In this edition the course, is slightly more balanced than in previous years starting with two mainly flat stages: the first one finishing at the shore of the Pacific Ocean in the town of Pedernales, and the second one starting from there but in direction to the highlands.

The third stage will be the first one of the race to meet the high altitude of the Andes region, starting at 2900 MSL and finishing at the small town of Olmedo at 3100 MSL, and it is a medium mountain stage with two small but hard climbs and ups and downs across the whole day.

Stage 4 will head to the north, finishing near the border with Colombia, and it will also be the hardest of the race with almost 2000 meters of elevation gain, where likely the first important differences in the GC will occur. Stage 5 will be the decisive one in which the race will go through almost the same roads as the previous day but this time heading south. Nevertheless, this day includes two extra climbs at the beginning of the route that could shake up the race, and a third hard climb just a few kilometres from the finish line in which the GC contenders will fight the last battle.

On the last day, the race is going to end in a mainly flat circuit on Stage 6, with the finish line located at the feet of the Center of the World monument, located exactly in the Equator line that divides the northern and southern hemispheres.

The main candidate for the overall victory is previous year’s winner Jorge Montenegro from team Movistar Ecuador – Eagle, a strong squad that has assembled some of the most important Ecuadorian riders to back Montenegro, such as Segundo Navarrete -2nd place in the GC in the last edition- and David Villareal two times winner of the points classification. One of the most important rivals for the Movistar Ecuador – Eagle is the Ecuadorian CT team BestPC that is built around Byron Guama, four times winner of the race. Teams from Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Peru will also take part in the race.



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