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Race director rejects possibility of women’s equivalent race
The UCI and Vuelta a España boss Javier Guillén have revealed that all doping test results for the 2013 Vuelta were negative. The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation said via a press release that all 598 blood and urine samples were taken during the race.
Speaking on Monday in a forum organised by Spanish newspaper AS, Gullén confirmed the news and also revealed several other aspects of cycling’s third Grand Tour. He confirmed that, at least in the short-term, there were no plans for a women’s Vuelta a España.
Guillén criticised the suspicions raised concerning 2013 Vuelta winner Chris Horner -at 41 cycling’s oldest Grand Tour winner, and Tour de France winner Chris Froome.
“I think that [suspicion] is bad, even if I understand it given cycling’s recent past. But you can’t be cast into doubt simply as a matter of course,” he said.
“That said, anybody caught doping has to be suspended, and I would say suspended for life if it’s for certain substances.”
Guillén provided data to the AS forum about the current financial state and popularity level of the Vuelta, saying the race had around 1.8 million direct spectators lining the route each year, with an average age of 41, two thirds men and one third women, each travelling an average of 42 kilometres to reach their roadside spot to watch.
The Spanish Grand Tour had its biggest foreign TV audiences in Denmark, Belgium and Holland and 73 percent of internet traffic for lavuelta.com came from abroad. Around a million Spaniards watched the race daily, with peaks of two million for the biggest stages like last year’s ascent of the Angliru.
No women’s Vuelta
Guillén ruled out that there could be a women’s Vuelta in the near future, saying that it was “logistically impossible.”
“[First] you have to see if it’s profitable, start off with low-key ambitions and support from public institutions,” he said.
He refused to confirm whether the Vuelta would finish in Madrid in 2014, even though a finish in Galicia, for the first time since 1993, is widely believed to be on the cards.
“Until we actually get round to the Vuelta presentation in January [11th, in Cadiz], I can’t say anything more,” he said diplomatically.
He did say that the 2014 Vuelta would be sticking to its current format of somewhere between eight and ten summit finishes.