Vuelta a Espana rejects Lappartient's suggestion of reduction in length

Guillén keen to keep Vuelta at three weeks

Vuelta a España boss Javier Guillén has rejected an informal suggestion by UCI president David Lappartient that the length of both Spain's Grand Tour and the Giro d'Italia could be reduced from 21 to 17 days.

The idea of a shortened Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España is not new, and has been brought up by Lappartient and other previous UCI presidents in the past before being dropping off the radar again.

Lappartient mentioned the idea in an interview with Cyclingnews in November and returned to the theme in a recent interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, where the new UCI boss once again put forward the possibility of the Giro and Vuelta running over three weekends rather than four.

"A 17-day race could be interesting," Lappartient told La Stampa.  "But let's discuss this, without forcing anybody to do anything. We'll respect the wishes of the organisers." The Frenchman added, however, that the Tour de France would remain the same length due to its status "as the shop window of cycling to the world, cycling's global event."

Guillén has, however, once more roundly rejected the idea of a shorter Vuelta a España, telling Spanish news agency EFE that "it would be an error to take away days from the race."

"It would cut down on the level of media exposure and would reduce the possibility of increasing the support from the sponsors that back this sport," Guillén said.

In the past, Giro d'Italia director Mauro Vegni has not been so directly opposed, but has argued that any reduction to the Giro and Vuelta should also be applied to the Tour de France.

Speaking in November to Cyclingnews, Vegni said, "It's an option but it needs to be analysed and based on numbers. We have to evaluate the reasons for and against this idea. I'm neither in favour nor against it, but I want to see some facts first.

"What's clear is that any change should apply for all three Grand Tours. I'm open to discuss it, but of course shrinking to two weeks means that we'd lose one week of great racing, which is broadcast on television."

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