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Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) wins stage one of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.
Another Spanish stage race in trouble due to budgetary cutbacks
Vuelta a Castilla y León race director José Luis López Cerrón has revealed that this year's race will be cut from five days to three due to a significant reduction in its budget. Speaking at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, López Cerrón said that the final details of this year's schedule and route have yet to be confirmed with the race's principal backers, but explained that the three days are likely to focus on the cities of Salamanca, Ávila and Segovia.
Due to take place on April 11-15, the race has been one of the very few in Spain that has flourished in recent seasons. Thanks partly to the regular participation of Alberto Contador, some particularly supportive sponsors and extensive TV coverage, the race also appeared to have avoided the effects of Spain's ongoing economic crisis.
However, it now looks set to suffer the same fate as the Majorca Challenge and Vuelta a Murcia, which have had to sacrifice one day and two days of racing, respectively, due to budgetary constraints.
López Cerrón told the Spanish website Biciciclismo that the first stage of this year's race is likely to finish in Salamanca, where Movistar's Francisco Ventoso won the bunch finish last year. The main mountain stage will focus on either Ávila or Segovia, although there will not be a summit finish as there was last year when the late Xavier Tondo won the overall title.
The race director explained that he is investigating the possibility of having a split stage on the third and final day, comprising a short road stage in the morning and a time trial in the afternoon. He said he will be discussing this option with several teams during his stay in Argentina.