The organisers of the Vuelta a España 2020 have confirmed the race will be shortened and will now start from the Basque Country.
Racing had been scheduled to kick off in the Netherlands in August, but on Wednesday morning (April 29) race organiser Unipublic announced that the three stages in northern Europe had been cancelled and the race has now officially been delayed.
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Instead the race will be run over 18 stages rather than 21 and will start in the Basque Country.
New dates for the Vuelta have not yet been confirmed, but it will now be held after the 2020 World Championships in late September. Rumours have suggested the race is likely to be held in November.
The 2020 Tour de France is now set to be run in August and September instead.
Race director Javier Guillén said: “Obviously, when you design the race, you hope to never have to make changes of this magnitude, but we have to be sensible with the current situation and we have to accept that it is very difficult to replace an official departure at this late stage, given all the institutional and logistic planning that it involves.”
The Vuelta will now skip the first three stages and will start in Irun in the Basque region, which had initially been scheduled as stage four.
Racing will then follow the planned route towards the final stage in Madrid.
Guillén added: “To have that passion for cycling that is so present in the Basque Country from the very first day makes this change in plans much more pleasant.
“In any case, we only hope that this unprecedented health crisis is resolved soon, that we can all return to normal, including La Vuelta – that will again consist of its traditional format and duration of 21 stages and two rest days in 2021”.
Unipublic said it is planning to take the race to the Netherlands in the near future, potentially 2022, but nothing has yet been set in stone.