(AFP) – Vuelta a Espana will present riders with another mountainous challenge in 2019 after organisers announced next year’s route.
“La Vuelta”, which represents one of cycling’s three grand tours, will begin in the town of Torrevieja, near Alicante, on August 24 and finish in Madrid on September 15, with 3,272 kilometres (2033 miles) of racing in between.
Riders will have to negotiate 59 climbs in total, 13 more than in this year’s race, which was won by Simon Yates. It was Yates’ first Grand Tour victory, with Enric Mas coming second and Miguel Angel Lopez finishing third.
The event next year will also start in the form of a team time-trial, on a flat 18-kilometre opening stage.
A mountainous second stage then follows from Benidorm to Calpe before the fifth stage heads to Teruel and the climb of Pico del Buitre, featuring an 11.8-kilometre ascent.
An individual time trial will commence through France at stage 10 while stage 16 will also favour the sprinters, a flat 155-kilometre stretch between Pravia and Alto de la Cubilla.
The race culminates on September 15 with a 105.6-kilometre 21st stage between Fuenlabrada and Madrid.
Organisers also confirmed the Vuelta will begin in Utrecht in 2020, a first return to Holland since 2009, when its route began in Assen.
Utrecht will become the first city to have hosted all three major races, having formed part of the Tour de France in 2015 and the Giro d’Italia in 2010.
“The Dutch city and province of Utrecht and its neighbor of North Brabant will host the official departure of La Vuelta 2020,” read a statement released by the Tour of Spain.
It will be only the fourth time the event has started outside Spain, following Lisbon in 1997, Assen in 2009 and Nimes last year.
Director general of the race, Javier Guillen, said the choice of Utrecht reflected “the passion felt by Dutch people for cycling”.
2019 Vuelta a Espana stage by stage:
Saturday, August 24: stage 1: Salinas de Torrevieja – Torrevieja 24 kms (TTT)
Sunday, August 25: stage 2: Benidorm – Calpe 193 kms
Monday, August 26: stage 3: Ibi – Alicante 186 kms
Tuesday, August 27: stage 4: Cullera – El Puig 177kms
Wednesday, August 28: stage 5: L’Eliana – Alto de Javalembre 165 kms
Thursday, August 29: stage 6: Mora de Rubielos – Ares del Maestrat 196.6kms
Friday, August 30: stage 7: Onda – Mas de la Costa 182kms
Saturday, August 31: stage 8: Valls – Igualada 168kms
Sunday, September 1: stage 9: Andorra la Vella – Cortals d’Encamp 96.8 kms
Monday, September 2: restday France
Tuesday, September 3: stage 10: Jurançon – Pau 36.1kms ITT
Wednesday, September 4: stage 11: Saint-Palais – Urdax 169kms
Thursday, September 5: stage 12: Circuito de Navarra – Bilbao 175kms
Friday, September 6: stage 13: Bilbao – Los Machucos 168kms
Saturday, September 7: stage 14: San Vicente de la Barquera – Oviedo 189kms
Sunday, September 8: stage 15: Tineo – Alto del Acebo 159kms
Monday, September 9: stage 16: Pravia – Alto de la Cubilla 155kms
Tuesday, September 10: rest day two
Wednesday, September 11: stage 17: Aranda del Duero – Guadalajara 199.7 kms
Thursday, September 12: stage 18: Colmenar Viejo – Becerril de la Sierra 180.9kms
Friday, September 13: stage 19: Avila – Toledo 163.4kms
Saturday, September 14: stage 20: Arenas de San Pedro – Plataforma de Gredos 189kms
Sunday, September 15: stage 21: Fuenlabrada – Madrid 105 kms