The city of Utrecht has reportedly made a formal bid to host the start of the 2020 Vuelta a Espana as it works to become the first city to host all three of cycling’s Grand Tours.
The Dutch city hosted the finish of stage 2 of the 2010 Giro d’Italia following the Grande Partenza in Amsterdam, and then hosted the opening time trial for the Grand Depart of the 2015 Tour de France. Now it hopes to host the Vuelta a Espana’s Gran Salida after a successful trip to Spain by the Business Peloton Utrecht company to meet race organisers Unipublic.
According to a report in L’Equipe, if Utrecht’s bid to host the Vuelta a Espana is successful, it could also bid to host the World Road Race Championships and the Tour de France Grand Depart again in 2025. All bids, however, would depend on state funding.
Utrecht was keen to avoid a clash with the Tokyo Olympics but seems to have accepted 2020 as the best chance to host the race. Alicante is likely to host the Gran Salida in 2019.
The Vuelta a Espana is the least geographically adventurous of the three Grand Tours, venturing outside Spain for a start for the first time in 1997. It was 12 years before it did it again with a start in Drenthe, in the Netherlands in 2009. The third foreign start was in 2017 when the race began in Nimes, France.
The Netherlands has been a regular host of Grand Tour starts, holding six since the Tour de France visited Amsterdam in 1954.
The 2020 Vuelta a Espana would probably spend three days in the Netherlands, starting with a team time trial, a finish on the Cauberg in the hilly Limburg region that hosts the Amstel Gold Race. Organisers have also said that they would hunt out certain areas to invite crosswinds and visit the province of Gelderland.
"After the experiences of the Giro and the Tour, the next step is the Vuelta. It's the logical thing to happen. We would like to be the first city in the world to have had the finish of three Grand Tour stages," Cor Jansen of Business Peloton Utrecht said when launching the bid to host the Vuelta a Espana.
"We would finish this Grand Slam, and with this we would try to bring the Tour de France to our streets for 2025, it's a possibility that we are weighing up."