Navarra hosts race for first time in 18 years
The 2012 Vuelta a España will start in Pamplona on August 18, race director Javier Guillén announced on Thursday.
The race will begin with a time trial in the Navarran capital, although it has not yet been decided if it will be an individual prologue or a time team trial. In either case, Cyclingnews understands that the curtain-raiser will take place in the streets of Pamplona itself. The following day will see the Vuelta’s opening road stage from Pamplona to Viana.
Roberto Jimenez, vice president of Navarra’s regional government, was enthusiastic about welcoming the Vuelta to the region for the first time since 1994. Like the neighbouring Basque Country, which hosts its first Vuelta stages in 33 years later this week, Navarra is steeped in cycling history. The area’s most famous cycling son is five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain, while the Movistar squad’s historic roots are in Pamplona.
“Our region is very linked to cycling,” Jimenez said. “On one hand, we have a legend like Miguel Indurain, and then there are also two professional teams from Navarra, and one of them is the doyen of Spanish cycling.
“We want to give an international dimension to Navarra and show that we are a friendly people. We’ll receive the Vuelta with great enthusiasm.”
Pamplona was most recently visited by a Grand Tour in 1996, when the city hosted the finish of a memorable stage of the Tour de France. On that occasion, the race paid homage to Miguel Indurain by passing through his home village of Villava en route.
The 2012 Vuelta gets underway a little over two weeks after the London Olympic Games time trial, and concludes in Madrid on September 9.