While Michigan’s mild weather is offering up nice riding considering the time of year, there are a number of high profile bike races going on in enviable and attractive climes like Spain and Portgual. Today is the first road stage at the Vuelta A Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol, one of the longest names for any bike race, and one of the most enjoyable treats of the early, early season. More commonly referred to as “Tour of Andalucia” or “Ruta” for short, this hilly, tough stage race is an early warm-up for some rather big names, including Frank Schleck, Robert Gesink and Alejandro Valverde in his comeback season. Pictured above, Gorka Vedugga wil shoulder less responsibility this year than in 2012, as team leader Sammy Sanchez will take on the Ruta.

Patrick Gretsch won yesterday’s prologue to take the leader’s jersey into Stage 1, which features two high climbs before a long and relatively flat finish into the lovely little town of Benalmedena.

Check here for livestream coverage picking up around 11 am EST.

Follow @VDANDALUCIA for live tweeting and @kolotc for English coverage.