Not only will some of the Giro contenders be on hand at Pais Vasco, but so will some aspiring 2009 Tour de France stars. The biggest grand tour stage racing names taking the start line are Alberto Contador, Carlos Sastre, Frank and Andy Schleck, Kim Kirchin, Antonio Colom, Roman Kreuziger, Damiano Cunego, Robert Gesink, Vincenzo Nibali, Cadel Evans, and Linus Gerdemann.
In addition to the grand tour contender though are a slew of other top riders, among them Sammy Sanchez, Chris Horner, Fabian Wegmann, Thomas Dekker, David Moncoutie, Dave Zabrikie, Thomas Lovkvist, Rinaldo Nocentini, Luis Leon Sanchez, and Chris Horner.
With such an excellent line up of riders, Pais Vasco prepares us for the upcoming hilly classics as well. With Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallonne, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege only a couple of weeks away, many of the riders at Pais Vasco will hope to continue to build their form while at the same time racing for wins in the six day race.
While the cobbled-classics take up many of the headlines over the next several days, Pais Vasco should not be forgotten as a great indicator of how good the best climbers in cycling are riding. With so many hills, bad form will be obvious quickly. On the other hand though, if a rider is missing just that little extra bit of speed uphill, the Pais Vasco race could be the perfect fitness prescription for classics glory in a couple of weeks time.