Fearsome climb to precede Basque stages in tough final week
The Vuelta a España is set to return to the Alto de Angliru next year for the first time since 2008. While the full route of the race will not be formally announced until the new year, some details have already begun to emerge.
According to a report in the Nueva España newspaper, an agreement has been reached between Vuelta director general Javier Guillen and local officials to bring the race back to the legendary mountain. The 12.5km climb was first included in the race in 1999, when the late José Maria Jimenez took a thrilling victory ahead of Pavel Tonkov.
Gilberto Simoni was triumphant the following year, while in 2002 Roberto Heras took the honours on a day better remembered for David Millar’s finish-line protest against dangerous racing conditions.
Alberto Contador won atop the mountain the last time it was included in the Vuelta, en route to overall victory in 2008. It remains to be seen if the Spaniard will be eligible to ride the 2011 event, as he awaits a verdict into the adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol he returned at the Tour de France in July.
The Angliru is set to feature in the final week of the race and will be followed by a stage to Santander. These stages will come just ahead of the Vuelta’s first entry into the Basque Country for 33 years. Bilbao and Vitoria will host the Basque stage finishes in what promises to be a very testing final week over some rugged terrain.
The 2011 Vuelta begins in Benidorm on August 27 and will finish in Madrid on September 18. The route will be presented in full in Benidorm in January.
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