First stage starts today on the Passeig Marítim: 11,05

The tenth Mallorca Challenge cycle race starts today in Palma with over 200 of the world's top cyclists looking to kick-off their season in style. Today's first stage starts and finishes on the Paseo Maritimo with riders cycling ten circuits from the Porto Pi shopping centre to the Beat Ramon Llul with the finish line opposite the Auditorium. Each of the five stages are optional which makes the Challenge popular with riders who want to test themselves on different sections early in the season. There is an overall prize, but this is only for riders who compete in all five stages. Today's stage contains no climbs so expect to see some of the top sprinters and flat cyclists heading the pack. Dutch rider Erik Dekker of the Rabobank team won three stages in last year's Tour de France and should make an impression today. Spain's former La Vuelta winner Abraham Olano of the ONCE team is a time-trial specialist and is another rider to look out for at the finish. Add to that sprint king Tom Steels and German World Cup winner Erik Zabel and today's stage should provide a tight finish.


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