The 2019 Vuelta a España will trim back on its trademark summit finishes but the route remains just as mountainous as in previous years. To add to the challenge, the peloton will be treated to an unprecedented section of four kilometres of off-road racing.
Eight summit finishes is one less than in 2018. But there are four of them in an unusually hard first week, culminating in a brutually difficult stage in Andorra – which has that off-road section, just before the final mountain ascent, too – to keep the climbers satisfied.
In comparison, the race’s one medium-length individual time trial in Pau, France at the start of week two is unlikely to intimidate the out-and-out mountain specialists.
Unveiled on Wednesday evening in the south-easterly coastal city of Alicante, close to where it will start next August 24th the 2019 Vuelta a España route draws a large anti-clockwise semi-circle north and west up through Catalonia, Andorra, France, the Basque Country, Cantabria and Asturias.
The final, comparatively easy, third week then takes the Vuelta south towards the sierras of Avila in western Spain, with a short transfer returning the race to Madrid for a final sprint stage on September 15th.
The Vuelta will notably avoid all of the south of Spain for the first time in several years, but the summer heat will likely prove, as ever, a major factor, particularly in the first week on Spain’s souther-easterly coastline and the third week in Spain’s sunbaked central sierras.
2019 Vuelta a España
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