The 75th edition of the Vuelta a Espana will start in the Netherlands with a team time trial in Utrecht with organisers revealing the details of two other stages in the Utrecht and North Brabant provinces before the peloton flies to Spain on an early rest day.
Utrecht thus becomes the first city to host stages of all three Grand Tours, having hosted the start of the Tour de France in 2015 and the finish of a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2010. It is the second time that the Vuelta has started in the Netherlands, with the previous start being in 2009. Britain's Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won the 2018 Vuelta a Espana.
Javier Guillen, CEO of the Vuelta, said that the city was selected for a special reason.
“La Vuelta 20 will be the 75th edition of our cycling Tour so we wanted a special start. We could, with the Netherlands as a cycling country and Utrecht as a starting place, give the Vuelta a unique touch.”
The team time trial will be held on Friday evening, covering 23.7 km through the streets of Utrecht. After a technical section through the city centre, they will ride on the oldest cycle path in the Netherlands before going up to the Ledische Rijn. From there they will go all out to the finish line at the Jaarbeursplein.
Stage 2 takes the field 183 km from 's-Hertogenbosch back to Utrecht. It will include the first mountain competition points of the race at the Grebbeberg. After riding along “the hilly ridge known as the Utrechtse Heuvelrug”, they will take a run through Utrecht before an expected sprint finish at the Utrecht Science Park.
The third and final stage, on the Sunday, will start at Breda in North Brabant. There the peloton will face the Brabantse Wal, not a wall but the characteristic flat landscape of the area. The 194 kilometres will take them to, amongst others, Hoogerheide, known for cyclocross racing. They will then return to Breda for another sprint finish. The dates of the race have not yet been announced, nor have the rest of the stages.