Vuelta a Espana favorites Nibali, Basso to test legs at Burgos tour

Nibali, Basso, and others head to northern Spain for the five-day race ahead of the year's final grand tour

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BURGOS, Spain (VN) — Several big names heading to the Vuelta a España later this month are converging on Spain’s northern meseta to test their legs in the five-day Vuelta a Burgos.

Among the confirmed starters are pre-Vuelta favorites Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Ivan Basso (Cannondale), Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale).

Nairo Quintana (Movistar), second overall at the Tour de France and winner of the mountains and best young rider classifications there, is also starting in what’s his final European race before returning to Colombia.

A few Vuelta-bound riders are skipping the Burgos tour, top among them being Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha).

Nine UCI WorldTour teams line up among the 16-squad field for the Burgos tour, which starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

The terrain will provide ample opportunity for the Vuelta favorites to test drive their engines before the start of the Spanish tour on August 24 in Galicia.

The opening two stages feature rolling terrain that should be well suited for the sprinters. The GC favorites will be under the gun to control undulating, attack-friendly roads Friday and Saturday.

Sunday’s seven-climb finale, with two climbs up the Cat. 1 Lagunas de Neila, usually delivers the final overall winner. Two passages up the Neila climb, featuring ramps as steep as 17 percent, will provide a good litmus test of who’s coming into form ahead of the Vuelta.

35th Vuelta a Burgos

Stage 1, August 7: Burgos-Burgos, 139km
Stage 2, August 8: Ribera del Duero to Clunia, 157km
Stage 3, August 9: Villadiego to Ojo Gaureña, 175km
Stage 4, August 10: Doña Santos to Santo Domingo de Silos, 162km
Stage 5, August 11: Comunero de Revenga to Lagunas de Neila, 170km

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