Vuelta a Espana organisers unveiled the 2020 route with Spanish grand tour embarking from the Netherlands before side excursions into France and Portugal.
The action begins with a team time trial in Utrecht on August 14 and culminates 3245km, 21 stages and three potentially thrilling weeks later in Madrid on September 6.
As well as three Dutch stages the route also features mythical Col de Tourmalet in France where Thibaut Pinot won a stage ahead of Julian Alaphilippe on the 2019 Tour de France.
For the first time since 1997 the route also takes in two stages in Portugal, including the only stage over 200km.
The route is also notable for excluding the sweltering South altogether.
A traditionally gruelling race, in its 75th edition, the route includes seven steep climbs, one fewer than last year, as well as 11 stages that feature medium-to-high mountains in Spain and France.
“La Vuelta remains faithful to its commitment to innovation and to its dedication to being international,” said the director general Javier Guillen.
“In 2020, we will undoubtedly host be one of the most European sports events, visiting four EU countries: the Netherlands, Spain, France, and Portugal.
“Spain is still our home, the place that reminds us where we came from and where we are headed but it also pushes us to grow as a competition and to progress even further.”
There will be eight flat stages and 11 hill and mountain stages, as well as one individual time trial and one team trial.
The early stages in the Netherlands will favour the sprinters before the climbs begin in Basque Country from stage four, with an 18km ascent in stage six that will end at Laguna Negra.
Stage 9 and 10 offer more mountain challenges, with the former posing a 19km climb of the Col du Tourmalet at a gradient of 7.4 per cent and the latter finishing at Moncalvillo after a 15km climb, the last eight kilometres at an unforgiving 9.2 per cent.
After some welcome respite for the sprinters, stage 15 perhaps presents the most formidable phase of the course, as a section of the Cuena les Cabres includes 3km at a lung-busting 23.5 per cent gradient.
Stage 18 will leave Spain for Portugal before the 20th stage brings the final summit finish at La Covatilla. The sprint to the line in Madrid will conclude at the Plaza de Cibeles at the end of stage 21.
Vuelta a Espana 2020 stages
Friday, August 14 – Stage 1: Utrecht-Utrecht (TTT), 23.3km
Saturday, August 15 – Stage 2: s’Hertogenbosch – Utrecht, 181.6km
Sunday, August 16 – Stage three: Breda – Breda, 193km
Monday, August 17 – Rest day
Tuesday, 18 August – Stage 4: Irún – Arrate, 169.5km
Wednesday, 19 August – Stage 5: Pamplona – Lekunberri, 151km
Thursday, 20 August – Stage 6: Lodosa – La Laguna Negra de Vinuesa, 163.8km
Friday, 21 August – Stage 7: Garray – Ejea de los Caballeros, 190km
Saturday, 22 August – Stage eight: Huesca – Sabiñanigo, 185.5km
Sunday, 23 August – Stage nine: Biescas – Col du Tourmalet, 135.6 km
Monday, 24 August – Rest Day
Tuesday, 25 August – Stage 10: Vitoria – Villanueva de Valdegovia, 160.4km
Wednesday, 26 August – Stage 11: Logroño – Alto de Moncalvillo, 164.5km
Thursday, 27 August – Stage 12: Castrillo del Val – Aguilar del Campo, 163.6km
Friday, 28 August – Stage 13: Castro Urdiales – Suances, 187.4km
Saturday, 29 August – Stage 14: Villaviciosa – Alto de la Farrapona, 170.2km
Sunday, 30 August – Pola de Laviana – Alto del Angliru, 109.2km
Monday, 31 August – Rest Day
Tuesday, September 1 – Stage 16: Muros – Ezaro (ITT), 33.5km
Wednesday, September 2 – Stage 17: Lugo – Ourense, 205.8km
Thursday, September 3 – Stage 18: Mos – Porto, 178km
Friday, September 4 – Stage 19: Viseu – Ciudad Rodrigo, 177.7km
Saturday, September 5 – Stage 20: Sequeros – Alto de la Covatilla, 175.8km
Sunday, September 6 – Stage 21: La Zarzuela – Madrid, 125.4km