The 2018 Vuelta a España could reach its climax with a two-day stint in Andorra, according to local media. A report in Diari d'Andorra says that the Vuelta would visit the principality for the final mountain effort on stages 19 and 20, with the second being a summit finish.
The news contradicts earlier reports, which put forward the Monte Oiz climb in the Basque Country as a potential decider for the overall classification. The 14-kilometre half-tarmac, half-concrete test would be a new addition to the race.
Given their proximity, it is possible that Monte Oiz and a ride into Andorra could both feature in the final week. However, with the second rest day rumoured to be in Salamanca, this could prove a logistical challenge. Organisers are also looking to Asturias to find some of the expected 10 uphill finishes.
The Vuelta a España has visited Andorra many times over the years. This year's edition held a finish at Andorra la Vella on stage 3, which was won by Vincenzo Nibali, before setting off from Escaldes-Engordany the following day. In 2015, the race spent three days in Andorra with a rest day, a mountain stage and a tough sprint stage. Mikel Landa was the winner on the mountain stage, which was designed by Andorra resident Joaquim Rodriguez and put the riders over six climbs – including four first category and one special category ascent.
If the report by Diari d'Andorra is correct, then the riders could be in for a brutal climax to the Vuelta in 2018.
The route is not due to be unveiled until January 13 but a number of details have already been confirmed, while there are plenty of rumours in Spain's regional press. It has already been confirmed that the race will set off from Málaga on August 25 with a 10-kilometre individual time trial. There will be two further stages in Málaga before the peloton heads further afield.