By Jonny Long
The Vuelta a España has announced its wildcard teams for the 2020 edition of the Spanish Grand Tour.
Spanish UCI ProTeams Burgos-BH and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA have been granted the two spots, with the usual third reserved for Total Direct Energie, who get an automatic invite to the three Grand Tours after finishing atop the ProTeam rankings in 2019.
This means that both Nairo Quintana's Arkéa-Samsic and Mathieu van der Poel's Alpecin-Fenix miss out, with the Dutchman's squad already not being granted an extra spot at the delayed Tour de France.
Some teams had hoped for a reduction in team sizes from eight to seven riders so that extra squads could be included amid the financial insecurity borne by the coronavirus as well as the reshuffled 2020 season squeezed in the final few months of the year stretching squads to their limit. However, the UCI did not allow this.
Fundación-Orbea have also missed out, the Basque team of the Fundación Euskadi, which was revived by Bahrain-McLaren's Mikel Landa and brought back the orange jerseys of Euskaltel-Euskadi.
Burgos-BH's Ángel Madrazo had a successful 2019 Vuelta, winning a stage and coming second in the king of the mountains classification.
The 2020 Vuelta has been postponed by two months and will now run from October 20 - November 8 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Spanish Grand Tour moved from its original dates to make way for the Tour de France, which will now run from August 29 - September 20.
The Vuelta will also only run for 18 stages after the first three scheduled for Utrecht in the Netherlands were scrapped due to the complications posed by the virus.
The race will now overlap with both the Giro d'Italia and Paris-Roubaix, with stage six finishing atop the Tourmalet on the same day as the Hell of the North and the final stage of the Italian Grand Tour, a time trial in Milan.
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