Yorkshire exploring possibility of hosting Vuelta a España start

Sir Gary Verity is confident that the Vuelta a España could be held in Yorkshire in the coming years

Peter Kennaugh on Tour de Yorkshire 2016 stage three. Photo: Andy Jones

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Yorkshire is exploring the possibility of one day hosting the start of the Vuelta a España, the tourist board representing the county has told Cycling Weekly.

Welcome to Yorkshire has revealed that its CEO, Sir Gary Verity, has talked with Javier Guillén, the Tour of Spain’s race director, about the possibility of the first few stages of the season’s third Grand Tour being staged in the region.

>>> Tour de Yorkshire 2017 final stage ‘could be carnage'

“We have spoken to Javier and he knows if he brings the Vuelta to Yorkshire he’ll be guaranteed huge crowds,” Verity told CW.

“That’s obviously of interest to him and I’m sure at some point the Vuelta will come to the county.”

The year that the hosts of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships would hope to bring the late August/early September race to Britain is not yet known and potentially complicated.

British Cycling have a policy of hosting ‘major cycling events’ every three to four years, and recently told CW that its preferred next available time slot is between 2021 and 2023.

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Portsmouth and three other UK regions are wanting to bring the Tour de France Grand Départ back to the UK, and it is unsure if British Cycling would be in favour of both the Tour and Vuelta being staged in the country in the same year, or even successive years.

>>> Portsmouth ditches 2019 Tour de France Grand Départ plans

Christian Prudhomme, the Tour de France race director and a close friend of Verity, recently said that it was a matter of when, not if he would bring his race back to Yorkshire.

Additionally, the Vuelta a España is also run by Prudhomme’s organisation – ASO – so Guillén and other Vuelta organisers would be able to confide in Prudhomme about the prospect of visiting Yorkshire.

It is unlikely that the Vuelta would be put off by having to incorporate a rest day into its first week, should it visit Yorkshire.

The last time it had a foreign start, 2009 in Assen, it held the first four stages in the Netherlands and Belgium before having a rest day on the first Wednesday, to ensure all teams and logistics could be moved to Spain in time for the resumption of the race.

Furthermore, the Giro d’Italia began in Northern Ireland in 2014 and had a travel day on the first Tuesday, with the race continuing unhindered thereafter.

The 2017 Vuelta starts in Nîmes, France, only the third time the race’s opening stage will be outside Spain.

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