Barcelona will host opening two stages of Vuelta a España in 2023

Race organisers announced the Catalonian city will return for the first time since 2012

Primoz Roglic Vuelta a Espana 2023 Barcelona
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Race organisers have confirmed the 2023 edition of the Vuelta a España will start in Barcelona on August 19, with the Catalonian city hosting the first two stages, consisting of a team time trial on the opening day and the opening stage race the day after.

The race's official Twitter account announced the news, saying: "Barcelona will host the official start and the first two stages of La Vuelta 23."

Barcelona hosted the first official start of the Vuelta in 1962, with a stage 90km long that started and finished in the city. In recent years though, the city has featured more regularly as the final stage on the Tour of Catalonia. 

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It last appeared on the Spanish Grand Tour back in 2012 during a flat stage from Andorra to the city, in which Belgian rider Phillippe Gilbert won. 

While the final decisions for the course route haven't been made yet, race organisers want the time trial to arrive and start at distinctive places in the city. 

The second stage from Barcelona is also undecided, though there are three options available to organisers. These include heading northwards to Andorra, riding west out of the city towards the region of Aragon, or travelling along the coast towards Valencia via Tarragona. 

Councillor for Sports, David Escudé, said: "We had been waiting for a long time to be able to present this project. Finally, 60 years later, Barcelona will once again host the official start of La Vuelta. It has rained a lot since then. We work to host big events and it makes all the sense in the world to bring La Vuelta to Barcelona, a city linked to cycling for many years."

Javier Guillén, the general director of the Grand Tour, is also excited at the prospect of the Vuelta starting from Barcelona. 

He said: "The fact that La Vuelta leaves Barcelona is a dream.

"[I have] a lot of personal affinity with Barcelona and I am especially grateful for the drive, passion and desire that both the sports councillor and the deputy mayor have put into this project."

However, there is still the small matter of the 2022 Vuelta a España before returning to Barcelona, starting in the Netherlands with a time trial through Utrecht. Stage two travels from 's-Hertogenbosch to Utrecht, while the final Dutch leg of the tour goes through and around Breda.

Tadej Pogačar has already signalled his intentions to win the race this coming year, but he will have to beat compatriot and three-time holder of the Vuelta Primož Roglič to the title. 

Also appearing is 2009 winner Alejandro Valverde, in what will be the final Grand Tour appearance of his illustrious career. 

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