Race will take place between August 25 and September 16 - here's everything you need to know

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Nine explosive summit finish stage will mark the route of the 2018 Vuelta a España (August 25-September 16) balanced by an opening time trial and longer 32.7-kilometre test against the clock in the third week, similar to the one Chris Froome (Sky) won in 2017.

Organiser Unipublic confirmed the specifics – including stage distances – on Saturday at the 2018 route presentation near Malaga in Estepona.

Vuelta a España route 2018

The 2018 Vuelta route will feature two time trial stages (Sunada)

The race starts in the Andalusia resort town of Malaga with a short time trial of eight kilometres, kicking off the 3271.4km three-week route.

Stage two kicks off a series of nine summit finishes. Most of the mountain days are short stages, between 150 and 200 kilometres. Race director Javier Guillén revealed a route with just one stage over the 200km mark. Stage 11 is the longest of the race, totalling 208.8km.

After the Caminito del Rey summit finish on day two – where Esteban Chaves won in 2015 – the Vuelta will climb to finish at La Alfaguara, La Covatilla, La Camperona, Les Praeres, Lagos de Covadonga, Monte Oiz and Andorra.

The Tour of Spain lives up to its name by continuing visiting new corners in the Iberian Peninsula.

>>> Vuelta a España 2018: Latest news and race info

It takes in three new summit finishes in its drive from Andalusia and Murcia to the north, skirting the Portuguese border to Galicia, Asturias, the Basque Country and finally Andorra.

vuelta a espana 2018 route map

Vuelta a España 2018 overall route map

La Alfaguara, already on stage four, covers over 12 kilometres with ramps of 12 per cent.

Les Praeres in Asturias on stage 14 looks like Los Machucos in 2017 with its short, narrow and rough road. The day’s five categorised climbs serve up gradients touching on 23 per cent in places.

Stage 17 to Balcón de Bizkaia, deep in the Basque Country, should attract fans especially in the final five kilometres that remain above 10 per cent and peak at 20 per cent.

After a rolling stage 18, Andorra will host a mountainous finale to the 73rd edition of the Vuelta. Stage 19 features a flat start and then a long rise to the line to Naturlandia.

Stage 20 will be the final chance for the general classification contenders to stamp their authority on the race – and it should stun stun like the Angliru stage that decided the 2017 race.

It’s a brutal final mountain day that includes a relentless saw-tooth of six categorised climbs from Escaldes-Engordany to the summit finish of Collada de La Gallina – around 4,000 metres of ascent in just 105.8km.

Vuelta a España route 2018

The 2015 Vuelta a España took in a gruelling stage through Andorra which could be repeated (Watson)

After the Saturday stage, the Vuelta caravan faces a long transfer south. As usual, the Vuelta ends with a flat stage in the country’s capital of Madrid.

“We are discovering new high-altitude finales and we want the mountain to again be a determining factor for La Vuelta,” said race director Javier Guillén “These are the distinguishing marks that have allowed us to breathe new life into the race and which we will continue to defend.”

Unipublic tries to balance the numerous explosive mountain days as it did in 2017, with time trial kilometres. After the eight kilometres in Malaga, the 32.7km individual TT from Santillana del Mar to Torrelavega in Cantabria should allow contenders who thrive against the clock to gain time.

Vuelta a España 2018 route stages:

Stage one, Sat 25, Aug Málaga to Málaga (ITT) 8km
Stage two, Sun 26, Aug Marbella – Caminito del Rey (summit) 163.9km
Stage three, Mon 27, Aug Mijas – Alhaurín de la Torre (hilly) 182.5km
Stage four, Tues 28, Aug Vélez-Málaga – Alfacar. Sierra de la Alfaguara (summit) 162km
Stage five, Weds 29, Aug Granada – Roquetas de Mar (hilly) 188km
Stage six, Thurs 30, Aug Huércal-Overa – San Javier (flat) 153km
Stage seven, Fri 31, Aug Puerto Lumbreras – Pozo Alcón (flat) 182km
Stage eight, Sat 1, Sept Linares – Almadén (flat) 195.5km
Stage nine, Sun 2, Sept Talavera de la Reina – La Covatilla (summit) 195km
Mon 3, Sept Rest day  –
Stage 10, Tues 4, Sept Salamanca – Fermoselle (flat) 172.5km
Stage 11, Weds 5, Sept Provincia de Zamora – Ribeira Sacra. Luintra (hilly) 208.8km
Stage 12, Thurs 6, Sept Mondoñedo – Faro de Estaca de Bares. Mañón (hilly)  177.5km
Stage 13, Fri 7, Sept Candás – Valle de Sabero. La Camperona (summit)  175.5km
Stage 14, Sat 8, Sept Cistierna – Les Praeres. Nava (summit)  167km
Stage 15, Sun 9, Sept Ribera de Arriba – Lagos de Covadonga (summit) 185.5km
Mon 10, Sept Rest day  –
Stage 16, Tues 11, Sept Santillana del Mar – Torrelavega (ITT) 32.7km
Stage 17, Weds 12, Sept Getxo – Balcón de Bizkaia (summit) 166.4km
Stage 18, Thurs 13, Sept Ejea de los Caballeros – Lleida (flat) 180.5km
Stage 19, Fri 14, Sept

Lleida – Andorra. Naturlandia (summit)

157km
Stage 20, Sat 15, Sept Andorra. Escaldes-Engordany – Andorra. Collada de La Gallina. Santuario de Canolich (summit) 105.8km
Stage 21, Sun 16, Sept  Madrid (flat) 112.3km
vuelta a espana 2018 route map

Vuelta a España 2018 stage one profile

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Vuelta a España 2018 stage two profile

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Vuelta a España 2018 stage three profile

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Vuelta a España 2018 stage four profile

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Vuelta a España 2018 stage five profile

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Vuelta a España 2018 stage six profile

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Vuelta a España 2018 stage seven profile

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Vuelta a España 2018 stage eight profile

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Vuelta a España 2018 stage nine profile

vuelta a espana 2018 route map

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 10 profile

vuelta a espana 2018 route map

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 11 profile

vuelta a espana 2018 route map

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 12 profile

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Vuelta a España 2018 stage 13 profile

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Vuelta a España 2018 stage 14 profile

vuelta a espana 2018 route map

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 15 profile

vuelta a espana 2018 route map

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 16 profile

vuelta a espana 2018 route map

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 17 profile

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 18 profile

vuelta a espana 2018 route map

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 19 profile

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 20 profile

vuelta a espana 2018 route map

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 21 profile