Three years after it last started in Galicia, the Vuelta a España will once again set out from Spain’s most north-westerly region in 2016, with the most likely start date of August 20.
The Vuelta 2016 will kick off in the province of Ourense, and then go on to visit all three of the other Galician provinces, meaning it will spend at least four stages in the region.
As per recent Vuelta tradition, the race is expected to start with a team time trial. “All of it will be on tarmac”, race director Javier Guillen said on Friday morning, in an ironic reference to the controversy which erupted around the route surfaces for the opening team time trial in Porto Banus this August.
Guillen was understandably cagy about the rest of the Vuelta 2016 route, although unofficial sources say a return to the Basque Country is possible, as well as the Pyrenees.
He did confirm the Vuelta aims to stick to a similar overall structure to that of recent editions, with summit finishes coming as soon as the first week and probably just one individual time trial. “Television audience figures and the number of roadside viewers confirm this is the right strategy, despite some criticism,” Guillen said.
After nearly two decades where the Vuelta barely visited Galicia, in the last few years the race has regularly made the region a major feature of the route, with a Vuelta start in 2007, another in 2013 and the end of the race skipping Madrid – for the first time since 1993 – to end in Santiago de Compostela in 2014. After missing out in 2015, next year Galicia will be once again be back on the Vuelta map.