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Vuelta a España was “sublime” says race boss Guillén

By:
Peter Cossins
Published:
September 21, 2010, 15:43 BST,
Updated:
September 22, 2010, 2:53 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Race:
Vuelta a España
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) became the first Italian winner of the Vuelta in 20 years.

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) became the first Italian winner of the Vuelta in 20 years.

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Stages in the Basque Country likely for 2011

Vuelta a España director Javier Guillén has said that race organizers Unipublic won’t be resting on their laurels after one of the most successful editions of the Spanish grand tour for years. Having described the 75th anniversary edition as “sublime” from an organisational point of view, Guillén admitted that “our biggest problem now is maintaining the level of success of this Vuelta”.

Speaking to Spanish newspaper AS, Guillén acknowledged there had been setbacks. “We can’t forget the sad death of [Sky soigneur] Txema González or Igor Antón’s crash, but we are very satisfied that our plan for the race worked out.

"There was an intense battle right to the finish between a Spaniard and a foreign rider, which was only decided on the final three kilometres of the Bola del Mundo, which was our hope. You can’t ask for more than that.”

Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) managed to limit his losses to Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo-Galicia) on the climb to Bola del Mundo and so triumphed on Madrid on Sunday.

Guillén said that although there had been some criticism of the route, most of the feedback Unipublic have received has been positive.

“Looking ahead to next year we will have to continue with our innovative approach and not rest on our laurels,” said Guillén.

Pressed for details on next year’s route and, more specifically on whether the race will return to the Basque Country, Guillén responded: “We will stick with the summit finishes of the kind that we had in Valdepeñas de Jaén and Malaga, and the race will start in Benidorm.

"The prospect of taking the race back into the Basque Country really excites us, because there are so many fantastic fans there who deserve to enjoy the race again.”

Asked about a fall in the Spanish TV audience compared to the 2009 edition, Guillén declared himself “satisfied as there are now so many TV channels and so much competition. Some of the stages were very popular on the specialist Teledeporte channel, but we do need to work on that.”

Closer analysis of the TV viewing figures in Spain suggest that viewing figures compared well to those of the Tour de France, with the Bola del Mundo stage attracting three million viewers across Spain’s main public television channel, which only showed that one stage.

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