Yorkshire could be set to host the opening stages of the Vuelta a España in the coming years after Welcome to Yorkshire chief Gary Verity confirmed that there had been positive talks between the two parties.
Speaking after the final stage of the Tour de Yorkshire on Sunday, Verity, who led the successful effort to bring the Tour de France to the county in 2014, said that he had hosted Vuelta race director Javier Guillen at this year’s race and that talks had been ongoing for a number of months.
“They want to do it, we want to do it, we just have to work out the machinations around that,” Verity said, as reported by The Times.
“We can offer stunning backdrops and fantastic crowds. There’s no other event in the UK that gets more than 2.5 million spectators, nothing comes close. Javier has been able to see that for himself this weekend.”
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Professional racing has thrived in Yorkshire since the county hosted the opening two stages of the Tour de France in 2014. The success of that event led to the creation of the Tour de Yorkshire in 2015, a race run by Tour de France organisers ASO and extended to four days in 2018.
Yorkshire will also host the UCI Road World Championships in 2019, meaning that any hosting of the start of the Vuelta a España (which is also organised and owned by ASO) is likely to take place in 2020 or 2021.
While the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia have frequently started abroad, with the Giro having just completed its three-day Grande Partenza in Israel, the Vuelta a España has seldom started on foreign shores despite often straying into Andorra for mountain stages in the Pyrenées.
The race has only started abroad on three occasions, first starting in Lisbon in 1997 before trips to the Netherlands in 2009 and Nîmes, just across the border in France, in 2017.
This year’s event will start in Málaga in the south of Spain on August 25, finishing three weeks later in the capital city of Madrid.