The 2019 Vuelta a España will start in the easterly coastal region of Alicante, it was announced on Friday.
The last time the Spanish Grand Tour started in Alicante was in 2011, when it began in the popular tourist location of Benidorm with a team time trial.
After avoiding the region completely in 2018, the 2019 Vuelta will have three stages in the area, the first in the large coastal town of Torrevieja, with a stage based around the town’s famous saltwater - and salt making - lagoons.
The first stage will be a time trial, but the routes of the following two stages in the region have yet to be decided.
"It’s an area with very varied terrain and we have lots to choose from," argued Vuelta director Javier Guillén during the press conference in Málaga.
As recently as 2016, the Vuelta concluded its mountainous stages with an ascent to Aitana in the Alicante region. As is traditional in the Vuelta, next year’s start was announced during the countdown to this year’s opening stage, also a time trial.
After two years starting in Spain, the 2020 Vuelta is strongly rumoured to be starting in Utrecht, Holland, which has already played host to the Tour de France start in 2015.