Vuelta al Ecuador 2021: Preview
Dec 06 2021 09:21 pm CET

Vuelta al Ecuador 2021: Preview
Vuelta al Ecuador 2021: Preview
Vuelta al Ecuador 2021 logo

The most important race on Ecuadorian soil, and the last UCI race of the America Tour in 2021, is about to start on Wednesday, Dec 8 after the initial start date in November was postponed. This will be the 38th edition of the race and will encompass 8 stages across different geographic regions of Ecuador for a total count of 1217 km.

By Marcelo Hernández

The Vuelta, categorized as a 2.2 race, will start in the coastal city of Guayaquil, at sea level, and the first four days of racing will be mainly flat with almost no climbs as the race goes through the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. Among these, the second stage could be specially interesting since it is the longest of the race (226 km) and will be held mainly on roads next to the ocean shore, through some quite windy zones.

The fifth stage will be the first one to climb up to the Ecuadorian highlands: the Andes region. The start of this mid-mountain stage will be above the 2400 meters above sea level and at some point in the route, the riders will climb above 3000 meters above sea level. However, that will not be the most challenging stage, given that the next two days will feature greater changes in elevation and harder climbs. The sixth and seventh stages will go into the Carchi and Sucumbíos provinces, home of Ecuador’s greatest talents such as Richard Carapaz, Jhonatan Narvaez and Jonathan Caicedo, featuring some of the roads in which they usually train and above 3000 meters above sea level.

The final stage will be an urban circuit just outside Quito, next to the Monument to the Ecuadorian line, which mark the mid-point of the Earth, where the riders will be crossing between southern and Northern Hemisphere along the circuit.

The changes of the race original dates discouraged several foreign teams that were initially in the startlist, so this year’s Vuelta is going to feature mostly Ecuadorian teams, from which the most highlighted could be the BestPc, the only pro team from Ecuador with Continental license, that is going to line up the reigning champion of the race: Santiago Montenegro. Team BestPc also announced for its roster the four times winner of the race Byron Guamá, who is just one GC victory short of matching the historical record of the most Vuelta al Ecuador victories held by former cyclist Pedro Rodríguez.

BestPc’s main rival for the overall victory will probably be Team Movistar Ecuador, a squad that is led by the former winner of the race and current ITT Ecuadorian champion Jorge Montenegro and has a very strong roster for both flat and mountain stages. Another rider to watch will be Joel Burbano, leader of the Team Sin Fronteras (managed by Jhonatan Narvaez) that lost the 2020 GC for only 4 seconds, nevertheless this year’s Sin Fronteras roster is more modest than Movistar’s or BestPc’s.

Stages:

Nov 8th Guayaquil – Playas, 115 km. Flat.
Nov 9th Salinas – Manta, 226 km. Flat.
Nov 10th Manta – Quevedo, 191 km. Flat.
Nov 11th Quevedo – Santo Domingo, 102 km. Flat.
Nov 12th Sangolquí – Ibarra, 139 km. Hilly.
Nov 13th Ibarra – Tulcán, 159 km. Mountain.
Nov 14th Tulcán – Cayambe, 185 km. Mountain.
Nov 15th Mitad del Mundo Circuit, 100 km. Hilly.





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