It’s been a strange start to the season, with more of the same uncertainty that the cycling world carried through 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Despite much of the men’s team arriving in Europe ready to race, Rally Cycling’s planned January training camp was delayed due to the lack of early races. But now, finally, just around the corner is the Clásica de Almería on Sunday, February 14, an early-season sprint test on the southern coast of Andalusia, Spain.
The 2021 edition starts from Puebla de Vícar and rides 183.3km to Roquetas de Mar, a little way along the coast from the city of Almería and its imposing Moorish fortress. The race has had the same flat run-in since 2016, but each year takes a slightly different tour of the nearby hills and historic towns. Fun fact: the desert-like climate and arid landscape make the area an ideal location for shooting Westerns, including the 1960s films For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. With any luck, the worst the team can expect weather-wise is a howling wind.