The route of the 2020 Vuelta a España has been updated, hopefully for the final time, with new Spanish stages replacing the cancelled Portuguese offerings caused by the coronavirus.
With this year’s Spanish Grand Tour pushed back to an October start date due to the pandemic, the start in the Netherlands was also cancelled, with the Dutch stages not being replaced and stage four moved up to open the race instead.
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At the time of the original route’s announcement, race director Javier Guillén said: “The race has undergone many transformations throughout its history, but I would go as far as to say that we are currently in our best moment. We have built a real personality for the race, characterised for its spectacular and unpredictable nature as well as for its innovative and daring spirit. 74 editions under our belt that show just how hard we’ve worked to get where we are today.
The official, original presentation was held at the Madrid Marriott Auditorium on December 17, with former Vuelta winners Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde, Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru and Sean Kelly among the attendees.
Perhaps the most striking stage is day six – a 135km jaunt over three huge mountains, finishing atop the historic Col du Tourmalet in the French Pyrenees.
The Tourmalet has been snow-capped for a while now and may be a doubtful addition to the race when it starts in mid October.
Stage 12 is also a big climbing day, covering just 109km but taking in five categorised climbs, including the summit finish on the dreaded Angliru.
The time trial stage comes on stage 13 – 33.5km with a short and sharp climb up to the finish line.
On the penultimate day of racing, the peloton will tackle a 175.8km run with six categorised ascents on the way, finishing with the Alto de la Covatilla.
The race then closes out with a 125km sprint stage to Madrid.
Vuelta a España 2020 route: Stage-by-stage
|1||Tuesday, October 20||Irùn to Arrate-Eibar||172.5km||HERE|
|2||Wednesday, October 21||Pamplona to Lekunberri||151.6km||HERE|
|3||Thursday, October 22||Lodosa to La Laguna Negra de Vinuesa||166.1km||HERE|
|4||Friday, October 23||Garray. Numancia to Ejea de los Caballeros||191.7km|
|5||Saturday, October 24||Huesca to Sabiñánigo||184.4km|
|6||Sunday, October 25||Biescas to Aramón Formigal||146.4km|
|Rest Day||Monday, October 26||Vitoria||—|
|7||Tuesday, October 27||Vitoria Gasteiz to Villanueva de Valdegovia||159.7km|
|8||Wednesday, October 28||Logroño to Alto de Moncalvillo||164km|
|9||Thursday, October 29||Castrillo del Val to Aguilar de Campoo||157.7km||—|
|10||Friday, October 30||Castro Urdiales to Suances||185km|
|11||Saturday, October 31||Villaviciosa to Alto de la Farrapona||170km|
|12||Sunday, November 1||La Pola Llaviana to Alto de l’Angliru||109.4km|
|Rest day||Monday, November 2||A Caruña|
|13||Tuesday, November 3||Muros to Mirador de Ézaro Dumbría||33.7km (ITT)|
|14||Wednesday, November 4||Lugo to Ourense||204.7km|
|15||Thursday, November 5||Mos to Puebla De Sanabria||230.8km|
|16||Friday, November 6||Salamanca to Ciudad Rodrigo||162km|
|17||Saturday, November 7||Sequeros to Alto de la Covatilla||178.2km|
|18||Sunday, November 8||Hipódromo de la Zarzuela to Madrid||124.2km|
Here are the full details of the route for the 2020 Vuelta a España:
Stage one, October 20: Irùn to Arrate-Eibar (172.5km)
In true Vuelta style, the climbing starts early.
Stage one throws the peloton into a challenging mountain stage, with four categorised climbs with a finish on the famous Arrate climb above Eibar.
The final summit tops out around a kilometre from the finish, so this will be an open opportunity for versatile climbers and puncheurs.
Stage two, October 21: Pamplona to Lekunberri (151.6km)
Another mountain day, this time with only three categorised climbs.
However, stage two also features the first category one ascent of the race before a rapid 17km descent to the line.
Stage three, October 22: Lodosa to La Laguna Negra de Vinuesa (166.1km)
A day of constant climbing on day three. The road ramps up immediately and never lets up, before the finish.
The first category rise to the line could be fertile ground for a GC battle.
Stage four, October 23: Garray. Numancia to Ejea de los Caballeros (191.7km)
A probable sprint day on stage four, despite the undulating terrain. However, a breakaway could be motivated to try and stay away if the peloton is looking for an easy day.
Stage five, October 24: Huesca to Sabiñánigo (184.4km)
More mountains, this time with countless uncategorised rises before a substantial final with three notable peaks, before a fast descent to the line.
Stage six, October 25: Biescas to Aramón Formigal (146.4km)
This stage was meant to be the monster stage that included the Portalet, Aubisque and Tourmalet one after the other, but unfortunately, due to the new Covid-19 restrictions in France, that is no longer possible.
ASO have quickly organised a replacement stage that still sees the riders taking on the first big climb of this year’s Vuelta, just not to the same altitude.
The finish up the 14.5km climb is not as hard as the Tourmalet with an average gradient of 4.6 per cent, with a lot of nearly flat terrain, but with a couple of kicks maxing at 10 per cent, it may be a launchpad for an attack or two.
Rest day, October 26
Stage seven, October 27: Vitoria Gasteiz to Villanueva de Valdegovia (159.7km)
A probably breakaway stage follows the rest day. With undulating terrain that will eliminate many of the sprinters, the climbs don’t look tough enough to really offer opportunities for the overall contenders.
Stage eight, October 28: Logroño to Alto de Moncalvillo (164km)
Back to the GC battle on stage eight, with a tense day over two categorised climbs, finishing with the first category Alto de Moncalvillo.
Stage nine, October 29: Castrillo del Val to Aguilar de Campoo (157.7km)
An expected sprint day on stage nine, over 163km to Aguilar de Campoo.
Stage 10, October 30: Castro Urdiales to Suances (185km)
This could be an unpredictable Classics-style stage on day 10, but it all depends on how its raced.
With a number of uncategorised climbs on the road, it’s likely to be an unpredictable stage and riders may only find out exactly what these climbs are like when they arrive on race day.
Stage 11, October 31: Villaviciosa to Alto de la Farrapona (170km)
The toughest day of racing so far on stage 11 – five categorised climbs, four of which are in the highest category.
With a huge final summit finish, GC contenders are likely to mark this one down as a dangerous day.
Stage 12, November 1: La Pola Llaviana to Alto de l’Angliru (109.4km)
The second of the short mountain stages of the 2020 Vuelta, this one just 109km and finishing atop the formidable Angliru.
Riders can empty the tank as they head into the second and final rest day.
Rest day, November 2
Stage 13, November 3: Muros to Mirador de Ézaro Dumbría (33.7km individual time trial)
The only individual time trial of this Vuelta comes on stage 13.
At 33.5km its a mid length TT, mostly pan flat but with the sudden rapid rise in the final 2km, setting up the final days of the GC battle.
Stage 14, November 4: Lugo to Ourense (204.7km)
Mixed terrain on stage 14, which could be a sprint day if the fast riders still have the legs, but the rolling roads could also lend themselves to a breakaway escape as fatigue sets in during the final week.
Stage 15, November 5: Mos to Puebla De Sanabria (230.8km)
A lumpy day replaces the first of the two cancelled Portuguese stages, where a breakaway could succeed on the parcours.
Stage 16, November 6: Salamanca to Ciudad Rodrigo (162km)
A reduced group are expected to make it to the finish line, with riders still in GC contention needing to be focused on a day to avoid slip-ups.
Stage 17, November 7: Sequeros to Alto de la Covatilla (178.2km)
The grand finale of the 2020 Vuelta – 175km with a mix of climbs to shake things up.
With a combination of all categorised climbs, the relentless nature of the course is likely to cause a few upsets in the GC top-10, before a huge summit finish on the Covatilla to decide the overall classification.
Stage 18, November 8: Hipódromo de la Zarzuela to Madrid (124.2km)
The race closes out with the Madrid sprint stage.