The Vuelta a España has cancelled stage six’s planned summit finish on the Tourmalet due to French coronavirus restrictions.
The sixth stage of the Spanish Grand Tour was supposed to finish atop the mythical French climb in the Pyrenees but with the coronavirus health emergency declared in France and the subsequent restrictions put in place, the race will now find an alternative route.
The original course was set to take on three French climbs, the Alto de Portalet and Col d’Aubisque before the peloton ascends the Tourmalet, which has forced the entire stage to be redesigned.
The new stage six will see a flatter opening half before the category three Alto de Pertralba and the category two Puerto de Cotefablo and then a summit finish up the category one Aramón Formigal.
After the sprint point at Biescas, the peloton will face nearly 27km of uphill terrain to the finish line.
The climb was the scene on stage 15 of the 2016 Vuelta where Nairo Quintana put nearly three minutes into Chris Froome to cement his general classification lead and take his second overall victory at a Grand Tour.
Race organisers thanked local authorities for their flexibility in such a short frame of time to keep the race on the road, while also reminding fans that access to summit finishes is restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The penultimate stage 20 from Alba to Sestriere was initially due to cross the French border to take on the Colle dell’Agnello and the Col de l’Izoard, but will now instead tackle the Sestriere three times before the final race against the clock in Milan.
That time trial will decide the winner of the maglia rosa, with Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), Jai Hindley (Sunweb) and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) all within 15 seconds of each other.