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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) the best three of the 2012 Vuelta a Espana
Race director refuses to confirm report the 2013 race will be as tough as this year
Vuelta a España director Javier Guillen has told Cyclingnews that reports of an equally tough 2013 course with ten - or more - summit finishes "cannot be confirmed at this stage. The race route has not been fully decided for 2013."
Spanish sports newspaper AS published what it claimed was likely to be the 2013 route on Monday, with mountain top finishes dotted throughout the three-week race. It also claimed that after this year's Vuelta failed to go any further south than Madrid, the Vuelta would once again have stages in Andalusia and Valencia.
Guillen would not be drawn on the report’s accuracy, saying "there are still a lot of questions in the air. Issues like how many summit finishes are not fully decided.
"We've hit on a formula in the last few years we like and we'll be sticking to that."
Since 2010 the Vuelta has opted for having at least one major high mountain stage in the first week, as well as a summit finish on the second last stage.
Guillen did confirm that the Vuelta, which starts in Galicia on August 24 and finishes in Madrid on September 18th, would have between four to six stages in the rugged north-western region, open with a team time trial between 20 and 30 kilometres long, and that there would be at least one individual time trial.
The route published by AS runs anti-clockwise around Spain, with a stage into Andorra the only trip outside of the country. After a final mountain leg through the mountains of Asturias or Cantabria, the race could feature a long transfer south for the last stage into Madrid.
Other 'highlights', according to the newspaper included a stage over the Mirador de Ezaro – where Joaquim Rodriguez won this year - and a stage round the Ponferrada World’s circuit in north-west Leon.
A return to Valdepeñas de Jaén - the ‘wall’- like finish in Andalusia where Rodriguez won in 2011 and Philippe Gilbert in 2010 - is apparently on the cards. So too is a new summit finish on the Collado de las Sabinas in Granada’s Sierra Nevada mountain range before the Vuelta heads north and east through Valencia, Catalunya and Asturias. Guillen also did not rule out a possible return to the Angliru, last tackled in 2011.