Details changed of three key mountain stages and time trial

Details of some of the crucial stages of the upcoming Vuelta a España have been quietly changed as race organisers made some last minute adjustments to the route.

The mountain stages on the 10th, 14th, and 15th stages, as well as the time trial on stage 16 have all received route changes, although most of the alterations are minor.

The opening week of the race remains unchanged, but stage 10 is now 164.8km rather than 171km. This shortening of the course means the finish line comes immediately after the descent from the first category Collado Bermejo climb, but the organisers have also managed to include another third category climb on the route.

>>> Vuelta a España route 2017: key climbs and what to expect

Stage 14 from Écija to Sierra La Pandera sees more distance cut from the route, now being 175km in length rather than 185.5km as initially advertised.

The final especial climb (the equivalent of the Tour’s HC label) remains – albeit with a finish at 1,830m rather than 1,790m – but the run-in has been radically altered, with the second cateogyr Alto de Valdepeñas climb replacing the first category Alto de los Villares de Jaén, and the Puerto de Locubin climb removed altogether.

The following day sees the highest summit finish of the race at Sierra Nevada, which now finishes 20m higher than when the route was first published, and an extra two kilometres added to the route for good measure.

>>> Seven toughest climbs of the 2017 Vuelta a España

Finally, the only individual time trial of the race, on stage 16, has been shortened from 42km to 40.2km, while the following day’s summit finish to Los Machucos (with its 31 per cent gradients) is now rated especial rather than first category.

The Vuelta a España gets underway in Nîmes on August 19, finishing three weeks later in Madrid on September 10.