The Col du Tourmalet, one of the most revered climbs of the Tour de France, could feature in the 2020 Vuelta a España.
The French Pyrenean climb is rumoured to be included on stage 13 of the Spanish Grand Tour, according to Toulouse newspaper La Depeche, and will result in the race crossing into France for the second consecutive year.
The Vuelta is rumoured to have one stage finish in France next year, and if the Tourmalet is included that will mean the 2020 Tour de France is the only Grand Tour that wont feature a historic Tour climb, with the Giro d’Italia set to tackle the Col d’Izoard on stage 20.
Cycling routes editor La Flamme Rouge posted a possible mock-up of the stage on Twitter, theorising that the start town will be in Huesca and the shortest route to the Tourmalet, still over 200km, will mean the climbers will first tackle the Col du Portalet, then the Col d’Aubisque, before a summit finish on the Tourmalet.
The official Vuelta a España route is set to be unveiled on December 17, so fans wont have to wait that long to find out if the rumours are true.
The start of the Spanish race has been announced, however, and will kick off with three days in the Netherlands. Utrecht, 40km south of Amsterdam, will host a 23.7km team time trial on the opening day, becoming the first city in history to host all three Grand Tours. Two further days in the Netherlands follow before the race heads back to Spain.
Commenting on the make-up of the 2020 Vuelta a España at the recent Rouleur Classic, race director Javier Guillén said to expect “a pure Vuelta”.
He continued: “From the beginning, there will be very intense racing, it will have shorter rather than longer stages, but from the first week, there will be difficulties in the route. We want to have mountain stages on the weekends and then a very big mountain stage the day before Madrid.”