By Jonny Long
The 2020 Vuelta a España is expected to return to Angliru, Spain's toughest climb, according to reports as snippets and rumours emerge ahead of the official route unveiling in mid-December.
Spanish newspaper Marca reports that as well as climbing Angliru, there will be two stages in La Rioja, an autonomous and northern province of Spain, with one expected to finish on the summit of the the Moncavillo climb, of which little is known.
The Moncalvillo climb is 4.5km long with an average gradient of 6.5 per cent and is not often used in bike races, although was the scene where former Spanish road race champion Jose Maria Jimenez won a stage of the Tour of La Rioja in 1994.
Exactly when the Vuelta will pass through La Rioja has not yet been confirmed, as discussions with local authorities continue, however the Riojan government hope the race itinerary will allow for riders to stay the night on Riojan soil before heading off the next morning.
The Angliru climb was where Alberto Contador said goodbye to both the Vuelta a España and the professional peloton, winning on the penultimate stage of his final race, the 2017 Spanish Grand Tour.
On that day the Spaniard beat Wout Poels (Ineos) by 17 seconds, but two years later Poels would be given his own Angliru stage win after Juan José Cobo was stripped of his results at the 2011 Vuelta, which he won after an investigation found he had used a banned substance.
After being handed the stage win Poels said: "If you look back it’s pretty s*** that it’s true he was cheating.
"I didn’t get to put my hands in the air, I didn’t stand on the podium, I didn’t get my bonus [he said, laughing]. It’s nice to say I won on the Angliru but on the other hand you also didn’t get the podium and everything. That’s why you become a bike rider, to put your hands in the air."
Two weeks ago it was also revealed the Tourmalet could also feature in the 2020 Spanish Grand Tour, which would mean the Tour de France would be the only 2020 Grand Tour not to feature a historic Tour climb, with the Giro d''Italia set to tackle the Col d'Izoard on stage 20.
The official Vuelta a España route is set to be unveiled on December 17 in Madrid.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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