Race will take place between August 24 and September 15
The Vuelta a España route will be “more spicy” in 2019 after an Alicante depart in its first week, a detour through France and an inclusion of two to three new summit finishes.
Vuelta director Javier Guillén outlined some details and others are surfacing via local media in Spain while Madrid still sweeps up after Simon Yates’s 2018 victory.
Already in August, organiser Unipublic announced the 2019 Vuelta would start on the Costa Blanca shore’s in Alicante. The province will host three stages, with the first – a time trial – starting in Torrevieja.
Guillén will likely plan a team time trial with a long individual one rumoured for the race’s French stages in Pau.
“[The 2019 route will have] more of the same because it works, with new territories, new cities, two to three new summit finishes,” Guillén said. “The first week will be más picante and the second and third will follow the model, and we will look for a strong penultimate mountain stage.”
Cycling Weekly understands the race will not visit Andalusia as in years past. In 2018, it began in Málaga and spent several days in the area known for its heat, olives and Moorish influence.
Instead, it could spin around Valencia, Murcia and Castile-La Mancha before a push north. It should visit two other countries, Andorra and France. Two to three stages could take place on the other side of the Pyrénées and perhaps a rest day in Pau, which so often hosts the Tour de France on its rest days.
Chris Froome (Sky), Geraint Thomas (Sky) and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) will be interested in the length of the rumoured time trial in Pau. The longer the better as they could try to overcome the new generation that filled out the Vuelta’s top three spots: Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) and Miguel Ángel López (Astana).
Guillén looks forward to the visit in to France, noting the “successful” Aubisque climb in 2016 and Nîmes start in 2017.
He could use the famous French cols as one of summit finish stages – nine filled out the 2018 route. He promised two to three new ones in 2019. Cycling Weekly understands from one source that the Basque Country or Asturias could provide Guillén his needed ammunition.
Yates won the newly introduced Les Praeres climb, sitting in Asturias and only paved shortly before the 2018 Vuelta’s arrival. The area could hold other new gems, as too could the cycling-mad Basque Country that produced the Balcón de Bizkaia finish.
The 2019 Vuelta, said one source, could return to the steep Angliru summit finish last conquered by Alberto Contador in 2017 in his farewell Grand Tour.
The Vuelta’s camino would then travel west and south. Cantabria, Galicia and Castile and León could welcome the tour, as well. Madrid, as with nearly every edition, should host the final sprint stage and celebrations for the 2019 victor.