Vuelta reduced to 18 stages an...


Vuelta reduced to 18 stages and start moved from Netherlands

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This year's Vuelta has been reduced to 18 stages and will begin in the Basque country and not the Netherlands as originally planned. 

The grand tour was due to begin in Utrecht on August 14, running to September 6 but has been postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first three stages of the race were all due to take place in the Netherlands, but they've all been scrapped with the new start coming in Irun instead.

No official date for the start has been announced.

The race is due to take place after the postponed Giro D'Italia which will follow the rearranged Tour de France (August 29-September 20) in the UCI's calendar.

Director of La Vuelta, Javier Guillen says, "Obviously, 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."

The trimming of the first three stages means it's the first time in 35 years that the Vuelta has been shortened.

When the race was last truncated - in 1985 - Sean Kelly won three stages en route to claiming the green points jersey.

This year's race will be historic in another aspect. It marks the first time since 1961 that La Vuelta will have begun in the Basque region.

"To have that passion for cycling that is so present in the Basque Country from the very first day makes this change in plans much more pleasant”, added Guillén.

“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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Coronavirus Covid-19 Cycling Giro D'Italia La Vuelta Sean Kelly Tour De France

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