Vuelta a España race director Javier Guillén has confirmed that next year's race will feature a largely flat time trial of around 40 kilometres, according to El País. In recent years, the Vuelta time trial has featured at least one classified climb but Guillén told the paper that 2015 will be a little different.
"Our time trial will follow our usual standard of the last Vueltas, one of 40 kilometres, and it will be on flat terrain or on false flats," he told the paper.
El País wasn't the only one he told, it was rumoured in L'Équipe yesterday that Guillén had contacted Chris Froome to inform him. Guillén confirmed that he had in fact spoken to Froome, who finished second at this year's Vuelta a España, but said that the conversation happened at the end of the stage 10 time trial to Borja. He explained to the newspaper that he approached the Team Sky rider after finishing the stage, and losing almost a minute to Alberto Contador, to commend him on his fighting spirit.
Guillén continued by telling Froome that the race would welcome him back in 2015. Froome responded, "Thank you, Javier, but these time trials in the Vuelta can they not be flatter?"
"And then I responded that next year would fall precisely in a flat region. And that began what you could call our conversation."
The decision to feature a flat time trial is one of the things that the race is doing in its attempts to attract big-name riders. This year, as it often is at the Vuelta, saw the starting line-up boosted by riders looking to pick up their season after a disastrous Tour de France. Neither Contador nor Froome had intended on taking part in the Spanish Grand Tour, but made the decision to ride after crashing out of the Tour. The result was one of the strongest line-ups of the season but Guillén is hoping to persuade more riders to target the race and Froome would be a big boost.
"With Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana and story. Astana has not yet decided whether to run Nibali's Giro. Having Froome would be great," says Guillen. "But that does not mean that we will make a tour to suit him. The 2015 Vuelta will be like the past three years, with explosive finales and summit finishes... And anyway, Froome has not told that he's going to come."
Next year's Vuelta a España will begin on August 22 in Puerto Banus, Marbella with either an individual or team time trial. The full route will be announced on January 10.
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