3 months ago by Oskar Scarsbrook

More Iberian action as men’s team gets into the swing

Movement
Full gas February continues

After a fruitful training camp in Portugal, and a KOM jersey-winning performance in Valencia, the Human Powered Health™ men’s team is heading into February firing on all cylinders. Coming off the back of its best year to date, the squad begins the 2022 campaign with an intense block of European racing. 

With a successful Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in the rearview, the month includes five more races on the Iberian Peninsula, including the Clasica de Almeria one-day race, a brand new event dubbed ‘the Spanish Strade Bianche‘ which you can read more about below, the Ruta De Sol and Volta ao Algarve. The 27-day period also includes a detour to Turkey for the Tour of Antalya before ending in Belgium for two storied classics at the end of the month. 

An invite to Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne gives our riders the chance to tackle the Belgian cobbles in a race that often finishes in a bunch sprint. The ‘little gorilla’ Arvid de Kleijn will be one of a few sprinters on the start list to keep an eye on. 

Men’s team director Pat McCarty observed the team, which includes six new additions to the roster, in the Algarve and was delighted to see the group come together.

“We always have to be careful about high-fiving ourselves at training camp in January when February is always a hard schedule and results can be thin, but I’m very happy with the group this year,” McCarty said. “In Portugal, I saw a group of guys that finished 2021 strong, had a good off-season and showed up prepared and with a good attitude.”

McCarty and de Kleijn, a formidable duo.

McCarty is also interested to see how the squad sizes up against rival organizations in February. 

“We need to have a high enough level of fitness to get through it but also remember how long the season is,” McCarty said. “We’ll target some days for results here and there, but ultimately we need to get through the month healthy to enjoy the benefits of the early season races. 

“Of course there are unknowns, but I’m very encouraged with this group and we’ll surely have some exciting moments,” he added.

The busy month culminates with Le Samyn on March 1, after which the team will no doubt be grateful for two weeks off to prepare for the spring one-day and stage racing campaign.

Kyle Murphy and Kristian Aasvold will be putting the hammer down in Spain.

Upcoming races

February 12: Vuelta a Murcia 🇪🇸

Kicking off a trio of one-days in the southern Spanish sun, Murcia has morphed a lot over the years – from a stage race to a puncheur’s classic. Expect the stronger climbers to try and shake out the fast guys on the HC climb Alto Collado Bermejo, which comes at almost exactly halfway through the route.

Roster: Aasvold, Bassett, Brown, Coté, Haga, King, Mannion 

February 13: Clasica de Almeria 🇪🇸

By contrast, Almeria is almost certain to be a sprint, with a very flat final 40km. Sam Bennett, Pascal Ackermann (twice) and Mark Cavendish have recently won here.

Roster: Bassett, Brown, Coté, Haga, King, Mannion

February 14: Clásica Jaén Paraíso 🇪🇸

Billed as the Spanish Strade Bianche, this is an entirely new race on the calendar. With 3,500m of climbing on asphalt and gravel roads around the olive groves of the Jaén region, it should provide a feast for the eyes and deliver some exciting racing.

Roster: Aasvold, Bassett, Brown, Coté, Haga, King

February 16–20: Vuelta Andalucia 🇪🇸

After a KOM-winning performance in Volta Comunitat Valenciana the team rolls into its next Spanish stage race, this time in the historic region of Andalusia. Nicknamed Ruta del Sol, ‘race of the sun‘, this incredibly tough, super-prestigious race spans five stages with Chris Froome and Jakob Fuglsang among the list of recent winners.

Roster: Bassett, Brown, Cote, Haga, King, Mannion

February 16–20: Volta ao Algarve 🇵🇹

Happening simultaneously will be another tough Iberian climber’s race, this time in the Algarve region of Portugal where the team had its pre-season training camp.

Roster: Jensen, Joyce, Krul, Murphy, Zukowsky

Where to watch: Murcia, Almeria, Andalucia and Algarve coverage will be on Eurosport Player and the GCN+ app in all territories. There are restrictions on the Clásica Jaén Paraíso for Spanish and Italian fans. 

Men’s program at-a-glance

February 10-13: Tour of Antalya 🇹🇷
February 12: Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia Costa Calida 🇪🇸

February 13: Clasica de Almeria 🇪🇸
February 14: Clásica Jaé Paraiso Interior 🇪🇸
February 16-20: Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista De Sol 🇪🇸
February 16-20: Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta 🇵🇹
February 24-27: Gran Camiño 🇪🇸
February 27: Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne 🇧🇪
March 1: Le Samyn 🇧🇪

Women’s program

Our women make their first appearance on a start line in 2022 at Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines February 17–20. Check back soon for a roster and race preview, available in the coming days.

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