distance: 131Km total vertical gain: 2873m
Stage 1 of The Tour of Crete begins with the riders rolling west of Heraklion, alongside the cosmopolitan Mediterranean coastline of Amoudara area. Just a couple of kilometers after the start, the Tour of Crete 2017 gets straight to the point with its first Stage bringing the peloton into a grade 2 climb up to Doxa, enduring for about 12 kilometers and reaching up to 480 meters of altitude. Then on it’s mainly descending for about 48 kilometers through 16 seemingly untouched-by-time traditional villages leading up to Platanes and the 5km of flat seaside ride into Rethymnon town, where Feedzone 1 is located.
Leaving Rethymnon and going southwestward becomes apparent the dramatic shift into the lush-green scenery of western Crete. Around the 100 kilometer mark and past the village Argiroupolis, riders meet the main challenge of the day: a grade 1 climb lasting for 13,7 kilometers, with average gradient of 4.5% and reaching up to 800 meters. It starts off easy for about 6 kilometers into Asi Gonia village where all riders can refuel at Feedzone 2 before they head out into the latter, harsher part of the climb and its 40 hairpins that stand before them and the top through ecstatic scenery with steep rocky ridge-lines; a stunning view for as far as the eye can see. The Cretan mountains will gladly reward anyone for reaching the peak with a stunning, 45 hairpin descent overlooking the Lybian Sea and which leads down to Frangokastello village and the finish line.
* Frangokastello houses only small scale guest rooms, so participants will have to spend the night in separate establishments according to their specified preference.