Month: November 2014

Vuelta 2015 for Almeria?

The 2014 Vuelta was, yet again, probably the best of the three grand tours so next years has quite a lot to live up to. The route itself is not announced by Uniplublic until January, so right now there is just a lot of internet/forum speculation. But we do know that it is all kicking off in Marbella on August 22nd, so most likely another hot, hilly week in Andalucia for the peloton as in 2014.

So this makes the possibility of a Vuelta stage or two in Almeria a distinct possibility as they seem to like to throw in at least one big mountain stage early doors – why not Velefique and Calar Alto – making their 4th Vuelta appearance – perhaps a finish up at Calar Alto this time, or a daredevil descent to a finish at the foot of the mountain.
I found at least one post suggesting an Almeria mountain stage.

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
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I hope they do Veleta in the first week. My guess is they will go via Almeria this year and do Calar Alto / Velefique as the early mountain stage.

In addition to the Vuelta – Almeria also hosts its own one day race in the Spring – a UCI 1.1 ranked event – attracting many of the big world-tour teams. This happens on February 14th in 2015 – often featuring bici-almeria’s home roads around our base town of Sorbas. Hopefully the race will come our way again next year after a couple of years to the west of the city, one thing is for sure, with a recent winners list of Sam Bennett, Mark Renshaw, Michael Matthews, Matteo Pellucci, Theo Bos (Cav was 2nd) and Greg Henderson, the race will come down to a sprint finish on the Rambla in Almeria city centre!

3x World Champ Oscar Friere @ Clasica Almeria 2011
3x World Champ Oscar Friere @ Clasica Almeria 2011
His bike

In 2014 the Vuelta a Andalucia paid a somewhat rare visit to Almeria – albeit for a very short Time Trial based around the massive Casi tomato-packing facility (if you didn’t know tomatoes are a really big deal in Almeria, I bet many you will eat between now and the spring come from Almeria!) The event was short and sharp, and resulted in a rare 2014 TT defeat for Brad Wiggins who was beaten into 6th place over 7.3km by Alejandro Valverde!

Team Sky at the tomato loading bay!
Team Sky at the tomato loading bay!

However, it is the non-competition cycling that makes Almeria such a great place to ride. The roads are virtually devoid of traffic, surfaces as good as any (always find a newly resurfaced road whenever I ride somewhere new, this year it was the climb to Benizalon in the Sierra Filabres) and the weather is reliable all year round. These three pictures were taken in October 2013 and New Years Eve 2011.

New Years Eve Ride 2011 -
October ride 2013
New Years Eve - Puerto de la Virgen 1080m
New Years Eve – Puerto de la Virgen 1080m
Back on terrace after ride - New years Eve 2011
Back on terrace after ride – New years Eve 2011

This is why the likes of Belkin, Lotto-Belisol, Movistar & NetApp Endura have all used Almeria for early season training camps in last few years – we even saw Olympic Champion Samuel Sanchez descending down off Velefique in 2013 during one of our group trips.

Samuel Sanchez coming down Velefique April 2013
Samuel Sanchez coming down Velefique April 2013

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Other Almeria news – Autumn 2014

Other Almeria news

Castillo de Tabernas – having driven past it every time we have arrived in Almeria since 2008 we finally got round to climbing the footpath up to the ruins of the Moorish fortress of Tabernas. Looks much more impressive from the road below than it actually is when you get up there, the views however are magnificent. Sierra de Alhamilla to the south, Sierras de Gador & Nevada to the west and the Sierra de los Filabres to the north, with its Calar Alto telescopes gleaming white at the top!

Castillo de Tabernas panorama
Castillo de Tabernas panorama
Clear skies above Castillo de Tabernas
Clear skies above Castillo de Tabernas

Bodegas Mendez Moya – on a day trip to Guadix I persuaded Lisa to follow a sign to a bodega at a place called Dolar. Having seen the wines of Mendez Moya in a local bread shop I had been intrigued at how wine could be made in such a dustbowl. The 9.5 climb up into the mountains from the A92 motorway gave the answer. The modern winery is located at 1323m (some vines are another 200m up the mountainside) so the punishing heat of the summer is lessened by the effect of the altitude. The wines were delicious, particularly good were the three wines that featured Syrah in the blend! http://www.mendezmoya.com/

Bodega Mendez Moya
Bodega Mendez Moya
Wines of Mendez Moya
Wines of Mendez Moya

Hollywood in the Desierto again! Following Ridley Scott’s Exodus being filmed in the region last year, another epic Claudius is currently shooting in Almeria and Tabernas, starring Joseph Fiennes the region this time features as the backdrop for the might of the Roman Empire!

First snow! Despite toasty temperature during our week in Almeria it was clear that the highest peaks of the nearby Sierra Nevada had already been cold enough for an early dusting of the white stuff!