Spanish sports daily Marca has leaked the route of the 2012 Vuelta a España just a day before the official presentation takes place in Pamplona. According to Marca, the 2012 edition of Spain’s national tour will feature no fewer than seven summit finishes, plus another three uphill finishes in race that should suit the climbers perfectly. The whole race will take place in the northern half of Spain, with the final day finish in Madrid its most southerly point.
Details of stage finishes on the famous Arrate climb in the Basque Country, Valdezcaray in Rioja and Lagos de Covadonga in Asturias had already been released. But Vuelta organizers Unipublic look set to include a string of other summit finishes, some of them new to the race.
Starting with a team time trial in Pamplona on August 18, the race will head into the Basque Country a couple of days later for the finish on the Arrate, then head to the Valdezcaray ski station the day after. The race will then loop back towards the Pyrenees via Logroño for a short, but very sharp finish at the Fuerte de Rapitán above Jaca. Two days on from that there is a more severe test with a finish at the Santuario Canolich in Andorra. The next day the race heads into Barcelona, where the riders will tackle the same uphill finish where Thor Hushovd claimed a stage win in the 2009 Tour de France.
After transferring from Barcelona across to Galicia in Spain’s north-west, the riders will face a time trial on stage 11 into Pontevedra, followed by another uphill finish at the Mirador de Ezaro above the city of La Coruña, which features ramps of up to 28%. That is merely a taster of what is to come, however.
Over three consecutive days there are three summit finishes on the fearsome Ancares pass, at Lagos de Covadonga and at the Cuitu Negro. The last of these three is a 2.5km extension of the climb to the Pajares pass in Asturias and at the moment is nothing more than a dirt track. This is due to be resurfaced in the coming months, providing a finish that includes ramps of 25% and is being dubbed “the Bola del Mundo of Asturias” as it is very similar in difficulty and aspect to that climb above the Navacerrada pass north of Madrid.
There is another uphill finish after a rest day at the Fuente Dé in the Picos de Europa before the final sting of the Bola del Mundo itself on the penultimate day of the race.
According to Marca the full route is:
Stage 1, August 18: Pamplona team time trial
Stage 2, August 19: Pamplona-Viana
Stage 3, August 20: Oion-Arrate (Eibar)
Stage 4, August 21: Baracaldo-Valdezcaray
Stage 5, August 22: Logroño-Logroño
Stage 6, August 23: Zaragoza (Tarazona)-El Fuerte del Rapitán (Jaca)
Stage 7, August 24: Jaca-Motorland (Alcañiz)
Stage 8, August 25: Lleida-Santuario Canolich (Coll de la Gallina)
Stage 9, August 26. Andorra-Barcelona
Stage 10, August 28: Ponteareas-Sanxenxo
Stage 11, August 29: Cambados-Pontevedra time trial
Stage 12, August 30: Vilagarcía-Mirador de Ezaro (La Coruña)
Stage 13, August 31: Santiago de Compostela-Ferrol
Stage 14, September 1: Lugo-Los Ancares
Stage 15, September 2: La Robla-Lagos de Covadonga
Stage 16, September 3: Gijón (Villa de Jovellanos)-Cuitu Negro
Stage 17, September 5: Santander-Fuente Dé
Stage 18, September 6: Aguilar de Campoo-Valladolid
Stage 19, September 7: Peñafiel-La Lastrilla
Stage 20, September 8: La Faisanera Golf-Bola del Mundo
Stage 21, September 9: Cercedilla-Madrid
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).