The Vuelta a España could start in the Netherlands for the second time in its history in 2020 after it was reported that the city of Utrecht was lining up a bid to host the start of the race in two years time.
The Dutch city hosted the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2015 as well as the second stage of the Giro d’Italia in 2010, and is now looking to become the first city to host all three of cycling’s Grand Tours.
According to a report in French newspaper L’Equipe, Utrecht is not only aiming to attract the start of the 2020 Vuelta a España, but is also, depending on being able to secure state funding, lining up bids for the World Championships and the Tour de France once again in 2025.
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The Vuelta a España previously started in the Netherlands in 2009, where an opening time trial in Assen (won by Fabian Cancellara) was followed by four flat stages, none of which have lived long in the memory, before a rest day to allow the riders to travel south to Spain where the race re-started in Tarragona.
At the time, this was the most far-flung start that any of the Grand Tours had attempted, but has since been superseded by the Tour de France’s Grand Départ in Yorkshire and the Giro d’Italia’s 2014 Grande Partenza in Northern Ireland and upcoming trip to Israel.
Previous Grand Tour stages in Utrecht have seen Rohan Dennis claim victory in the opening time trial of the 2015 Tour de France and Tyler Farrar sprint to victory on stage two of the 2010 Giro d’Italia on a day that the pink jersey of Bradley Wiggins hit the deck in a two mass pile-ups, meaning that he lost the race lead to Cadel Evans.