SOME of the worlds best cycling teams descend on the Costa del Sol today as the 66th Vuelta de Andalucía begins in Alhaurin de la Torre.
21 Professional cycling teams will take on the five stage event, covering a total of nearly 700km and taking the participants across four provinces, Malaga, Cordoba and Cadiz and Seville.
Dubbed the ‘Ruta del Sol’, teams such as the Lotto-Soudal, Astana, Bahrain-McLaren, AG2R La Mondiale and the Spanish Movistar outfit will use the event as a warm up for the upcoming UCI Road Racing calendar.
In total, riders from 25 countries are registered to take part, with 35 from Spain, 29 from Belgium and then France with 19 and Italy with 12 as well as representation from Russia, Croatia and Holland.
The race will start in the Malaga town of Alhaurin de la Torre before passing through Coin, Ronda and Algodonales before reaching the village of Grazalema, 173.8 kilometres later in the foothills of the Sierra del Pinar mountain range.
The 198 kilometre stage two will begin on Thursday in the Andalusian capital of Seville, heading east through Moron de la Frontera and Villanueva de Algaidas before bringing riders to the picturesque lakeside village of Iznajar
Stage three starts on Friday in Jaen and travels 176 kilometres across some of Andalucía’s most beautiful terrain, ending up in Ubeda before riders take on the final stage on Saturday, a 125 kilometre “sprint” from Villanueva de Mesia to Granada.
The final stage five will take palce on Sunday and will be a 13 kilometre time trial back on the Costa del Sol in Mijas Coats.
Local Police forces have been warning residents of potential road disruptions and closures but have urged people to come down and experience the spectacle of hundreds of world class riders taking on the challenge of Andalucía’s premier UCI Pro Series event.