Tour of Spain returns to Basque Country after more than 30 years of absence
Unlike the other two Grand Tours, whose route presentations have already taken place, the organisers of the Vuelta a España are taking their time in announcing their 2011 parcours. In recent years, the Tour of Spain has held its official presentation in mid-December, but this season, the final route will not be unveiled until mid-January, "probably on January 12," according to Marca writer Josu Garai.
Only a few elements of the 2011 Vuelta have been revealed until now. The three-week event will start in the Mediterranean beach resort of Benidorm, with the first three stages located in that same area around the town of Alicante. A return to the ascent of Xorret del Catí, where David Moncoutié won in 2010, also seems likely, although the climb may not be a summit finish.
More climbing will come in the mountains of Sierra Nevada, Andalucia, Asturias and Galicia, but the most fascinating aspect of the 2011 looks set to be a long-awaited return to the Basque Country. The race has not visited the region since 1978 when the organisers had to cancel the final stage to San Sebastián. Terrorist activities in the region posed a security threat to the race, which is why the organisers chose not to visit the Basque Country in the intervening period, in spite of the area's deep-seated passion for cycling.
Next year, however, the Vuelta will be back with two finishes in the region, one in Bilbao and another in Vitoria, according to Marca. Euskaltel-Euskadi's Igor Anton will doubtless be among the riders hoping the shine here. A crash meant that he had to abandon this year's event due while leading overall, having already won two stages.
The full route for next year's race should be presented on January 12, 2011, in Alicante.
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