THE THRILL RETURNS
O Gran Camiño returned to give Galicia its own space within professional cycling, as it already had with the extinct professional Volta a Galicia, which for years had in its line-up the best cyclists of the moment.
A worldwide focus
The impact of this first edition crossed all kinds of borders. With a first class participation, and with some protagonists eager to offer the best of the shows, we lived four days of the best cycling on our roads.
Excitement for innovation
Galicia, hardness and beauty
The best preserved Roman Wall in the world was the starting point of the first stage in a (neutralized) lap around the top of it. This preserves the entire perimeter of 2.2 km. During the route we touched up to 3 different Ways of Saint James in a leg-breaking route that had its epilogue in the most emblematic Camiño, the Camiño Francés, from Samos to Sarria by its variant for bicycles “Eurovelo”.
From the historic border town of Tui, we enter the province of Pontevedra following the route of the Camiño Portugués, we go around the peninsula of O Morrazo to return to the rougher version of the Pontevedra coast on the original route of the Camiño Portugués da Costa. This finish was marked by the 2nd category ascent to Monte Trega, where the history of Galicia is written on the stones of one of the largest and most symbolic archaeological sites in Galicia, El Castro do Trega. The climax of the race was at 600 mt from the finish line, where the historical heritage made the race more tense with 220 mt of the very hard cobblestones of the Via Crucis do Trega.
In the summer of 2022, the region of Valdeorras saw how 70% of its forests were devastated by fire. Many of the residents of their villages saw how the flames completely surrounded their houses while they fought against the fire in an act of bravery like few others. The towns of Santa Veiga de Cascallá and Castelo witnessed the passage of the race in this third stage that does not avoid misfortune, but pays tribute to the people of Valdeorras.
A hard and twisty time trial put the finishing point in the Praza del Obradoiro. Starting in Novo Milladoiro (crossing point of the Camiño Portugués) and, after overcoming the orographic difficulty of the Alto do Montouto, the seconds werw at stake through the historic streets of Compostela, where the Camiño da Vía da Prata enters until the “End of the Camino”.
If you want to know more about the Camino da Coruña, see the summary of the previous edition.
If you want to know more about the Camino de Lugo, see the summary of the previous edition.
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O Gran Camiño was born with the intention of having all the eyes of international cycling pointing towards Galicia at the end of February. A race that would combine, in a majestic way, top level sport with the promotion of one of the most beautiful territories in the world, where anyone who did not know, or heard of it, would be amazed by the incredible landscapes through which the race would run. With all the similarities between this race and the Camiño de Santiago, it is also a trump card to exploit, to show the world that it is “The Way of the Ways”, crossing its different routes and discovering, as one more pilgrim, the secrets that all of them have to offer. If in 2022 the battle between Michael Woods and Alejandro Valverde, which was won by the Murcian, delighted everyone with a great and evenly matched show, in 2023, the exhibitions of the Danish Jonas Vingegaard, reigning winner of the Tour de France, put O Gran Camiño back in the center of world cycling.
In 2023 we will made a journey through the origins of our territory. With a start at the Wall of Lugo (the oldest in the world preserved in its entirety) and a finish at the Praza do Obradoiro in Santiago de Compostela, it is clear that the nexus of union in this second edition will be the enhancement of our historical heritage. In addition, during the days of competition, we crossed another of the privileged places of our community, since the arrival of the second stage at Monte Trega (A Guarda), where one of the most emblematic forts of our territory is located, was a spectacular end in the sporting and scenic plane. The third stage was a change of third, since the objective was to give visibility to an area that was especially battered last summer by one of the great evils that plague Galicia from time to time, the fires. This stage of the province of Ourense passed in its final part through the region of Valdeorras, where some localities were completely cornered by fire, leaving many houses completely burned. Far from covering up and avoiding this, O Gran Camiño ran along their roads, giving visibility to this problem and bringing a great sporting event to the homes of these neighbors, who a few months ago were fighting to prevent the flames from taking their homes and their lives.
An attractive route, designed with the idea of putting the necessary ingredients so that the runners could put up a fight, offering the best of the shows.
En 2022 presentamos un recorrido atractivo, en el que cada etapa transcurría por una de las cuatro provincias de nuestra comunidad. Galicia es conocida en el mundo del ciclismo por la dureza de sus carreteras, que si bien no tiene demasiados puertos de gran entidad donde poder desarrollar un trazado con puertos encadenados y mucha altitud, hay infinidad de terreno donde buscar el desgaste para que los corredores nos puedan deleitar con el mejor de los espectáculos.
Así, la primera etapa transcurría en la provincia de Pontevedra. Era la más propicia para los hombres rápidos del pelotón, con una llegada masiva en la calle Policarpo Sanz de Vigo, previo paso por algunas cotas de montaña que redujeron este grupo principal, con un final donde el danés de EF – EasyPost, Magnus Cort Nielsen, fue el más rápido y consiguió llevarse la victoria y alcanzar el liderato de la prueba.
La segunda etapa, en A Coruña, salió de Bertamiráns y terminó en Ézaro. Luego de salir dirección Santiago de Compostela, alcanzó la Costa da Morte para rematar en el alto del mirador, donde el canadiense Michael Woods, de Isael – Premier Tech, fue el que se alzó con la victoria y cogió el maillot amarillo de líder.
La etapa de Ourense era la llamada a hacer las diferencias importantes de cara a clasificación general. Un encadenado de tres puertos por los cañones del Sil brindó un espectáculo de primer nivel entre el Israel – Tech, que defendía su liderato, y el Movistar Team, que buscaba con Alejandro Valverde hacerse con la prueba.
En la cuarta etapa, una contrarreloj individual en Sarria, el ucraniano del EF – EasyPost, Mark Padun, marcó el mejor tiempo, haciéndose con la victoria. En un final de infarto, se decidió en un mano a mano entre Woods y Valverde, que cayó en manos del murciano por apenas 6” de margen. Un final apoteósico para una grandísima vuelta.
February 24 - 27
One of the premises we had in mind from the beginning of the project was to take the test to another level, offering different points of view.
In this edition, we materialized this idea with the use of a FPV drone during the live broadcast. An unprecedented resource, so far, in this type of competition. The device was piloted by Ivan Merino, who leads the national ranking.
2 hours a day of the best live TV coverage with an audiovisual production at the same level of Grand Tours.
A STORY OF GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS
Galicia is a region of tradition when it comes to cycling, with a great number of names in the history books of cycling, both in old and modern times. Cyclists such as Rodríguez Barros brothers (of whom Delio still holds the record of stage wins in the Tour of Spain with a total of 39), Álvaro Pino, Jesús Blanco Villar, Óscar Pereiro or “deluxe” domestiques that were part of top-level teams during their professional careers such as Marcos Serrano or José Ángel Vidal, are some of the names that are part of the cycling culture.
Moreover, Galicia had for many years a professional race that brought together the best riders of international cycling.
With a first edition dated in 1933 and despite not happening in some years, the palmares of the race is linked with distinguished names of the cycling history of different eras: Salvador Cardona, Julián Berrendero, Vicente Belda, Marino Lejarreta, Laudelino Cubino, Miguel Induráin, Abraham Olano, Laurent Jalabert, Claudio Chiapucci, Andrew Hampsten, Piotr Ugrumov, Gianni Bugno o Frank Vandenbroucke are a few of the stars that participated in some of its editions.
Big names from our land: Delio Rodríguez, Emilio Rodríguez (on 3 occasions), Blanco Villar y Marcos Serrano also had the professional Volta a Galicia in their palmares.
This background is an additional incentive for cycling fans and teams to pay special attention to O Gran Camiño, a new stage race that, despite having its first edition in 2022, has tradition and history already in its favour.
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