Take an inside look at the early season Spanish race as riders and teams prepare for a stage on the Ruta del Sol. Photos by Chris Catchpole

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Maxime Monfort (Lotto-Soudal) gets a wheel change before the stage two start

As early season races go, the Ruta del Sol is certainly a toughie. A split stage on day one with a road race and a time trial, as well as two category one summit finishes later in the race, riders have little time to find their race legs if they’re hoping to pull out a result .

>>> Ruta del Sol day one in pictures

But it’s also the first time for many riders that they’ll be taking new bikes, setups and kit into competitive action, and for some possibly the start of racing with a whole new team.

Cycling Weekly’s Chris Catchpole took his camera out to Andalucia to catch an inside glimpse at the five-day spanish race.

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Jimmy Engoulvent ensures he’s ready to go in Andalucia with his Pro Continental Europcar team

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Moreno Hofland (LottoNL.Jumbo) smiles as he’s greeted by some supporters outside his team bus

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Some local residents use their prime location to get a glimpse of the riders

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Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) adjusts his helmet

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Wanty Groupe Gobert get their distinctive orange Cube bikes lined up ahead of the stage start

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Chris Froome (Team Sky) makes his way to the stage sign-on

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CCC bikes lined up for collection by the team bus

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Cofidis riders get tailed by some fans as they roll out before the stage

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An MTN-Qhubeka worker capitalises on some time to relax before work begins again

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Cofidis’ spare Orbea bikes loaded on the top the team car

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Nicholas Roche prepares ahead of his second day of competition in Sky colours

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A Colombia rider looks concerned as he’s snapped on his way to the start

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Local children were out in their droves to get a look at their favourite riders (probably Alberto Contador)

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An IAM Cycling ride displays his patched up wounds from a day blighted by crashes

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A RusVelo rider signs some autographs ahead of stage two

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The sun was shining but their was still a chill in the air at the Utrera start

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The crowds were out in droves to see some of the world’s best riders roll out

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The stage gets underway among the hills of Andalucia

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An Ag2r team Focus Izalco max wait for its rider by the team bus entrance

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There was no time for the riders to observe the landscape as the race began to stretch

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Tinkoff-Saxo team cars park-up in the start town of Utrera

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The rolling hills of Andalucia make for a picturesque backdrop to the race

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The peloton winds its way along the course