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Vuelta a Espana 2020 reduced to 18 stages

Joe Robinson
29 Apr 2020

Spanish Grand Tour choses not to rearrange first three stages

The 2020 Vuelta a Espana will be reduced to 18 stages as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Spanish Grand Tour was originally scheduled to start in Utrecht, the Netherlands on 14th August for the first three stages, however, these plans were cancelled as the logistics of rearranging the foreign start for autumn became impossible.

Instead of planning three new stages for the race, Vuelta organiser Unipublic has now taken the decision to reduce the race to 18 stages instead.

'Following the cancellation of La Vuelta 20’s official departure, originally going to be held in the Netherlands, Unipublic has decided not to replace the first three stages, and has consequently informed the UCI and the RFEC (Royal Federation of Spanish Cycling) in the aim that the cycling regulatory body would be able to reorganise the calendar with a Vuelta consisting of 20 days, instead of the original 23,' a statement read.

The race will now begin in the Basque Country and the Irun to Arrate, Eibar stage that was originally scheduled to be Stage 4 of the race. This change to the Basque Country will mean the race will start in the northern territory of Spain for the first time in 50 years.

As for when the Vuelta will take place, the organiser stated that new dates for the race had yet to be confirmed.

Rumours suggested last week that the Vuelta could take place in November, effectively ending the abridged men's WorldTour calendar.

Organiser Javier Gullen commented on the decision to reduce the race by three days calling it necessary given the current circumstances.

'When you design the race, you hope to never have to make changes of this magnitude, but we have to be sensible with the current situation and we have to accept that it is very difficult to replace an official departure at this late stage, given all the institutional and logistic planning that it involves,' said Gullen.

'In any case, we only hope that this unprecedented health crisis is resolved soon, that we can all return to normal, including La Vuelta – that will again consist of its traditional format and duration of 21 stages and two rest days in 2021.'

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