The organisers of the Vuelta a Espana are planning to finish the 2017 race in the Canary Islands with mountaintop finishes on the Pico de las Nieves and Mount Teide. According to the Gran Canaria-based newspaper La Provincia, the organisers are looking to hold the final four stages of the race in the region.
“[The Vuelta organisers] have shown the regional government the project to finish the Vuelta in Gran Canaria and Tenerife,” the paper wrote. It goes on to say that a sketch of four stages has been made for 2017, and both islands would host two stages each. A finish in the Canaries would be only the third Vuelta finish outside of Spain’s capital, Madrid, since 1987.
In recent times, Mount Teide has become a popular training spot for teams and riders meaning that many are actually training on the climb together. Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador all used it as part of their training in 2015. The Tenerife volcano has an elevation of 3,718 and its peak is the highest point in Spain. The remoteness, altitude and good weather are all attractive points for the teams.
The Pico de las Nieves is the biggest mountain on Gran Canaria and has an elevation of 1,949. Neither climbs have ever featured in the Vuelta a Espana although the Vuelta has made one trip to the region for the opening three days, including a team time trial in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, in the 1988 Vuelta.
Race director Javier Guillen is eager to bring the race back to the islands and tried to do it in 2012. Logistics and budget forced the organisers to delay that for at least a year but nothing more has come of it since then. Logistics will still be a major factor as teams try to transport all of their equipment the 1,500 miles between the south of Spain and the islands off the Western Sahara coast.
The 2016 Vuelta a Espana will start in Galicia with the full route set to be announced in January.