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Vuelta winner: Chris Horner (RadioShack)
Third foreign start for Vuelta
According to reports in France, the Vuelta a España will start in Nîmes in 2017. Jean-Paul Fournier, the candidate-mayor of the French city made the announcement on Thursday when the second stage of the Etoile de Bessèges started from his town.
According to Vuelta director Javier Guillén it's a real possibility. "It's a wish to start here." Guillén told Le Figaro when visiting Nîmes. "The city is culturally very close to Spain." The Roman arena in Nîmes is still used for bullfighting. "If the mayor says yes, it's no problem."
If the Vuelta starts in the southern French city in 2017, it will only be the third time the race starts outside of Spain. Unlike the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France with 19 foreign starts [plus starts in 2014 and 2015] and nine departures abroad [plus a start in Belfast in 2014] the Vuelta waited until 1997 to leave Spain.
In 2009 the Vuelta started in the city of Assen, in the north of the Netherlands. Despite the distance, this start was considered a success both by the Netherlands as by Unipublic. The Vuelta organizers wanted to repeat this event 2015. However, due to financial reasons the plan was cancelled.
The 2014 Vuelta a España starts on August 23 in Jerez de la Frontera with a 12,6 kilometre team time trial and finished in Santiago de Compostela three weeks later.