The Vuelta a San Juan has been confirmed for January 24-31, with at least three WorldTour and several major ProTeams expected to travel to the Argentine for the eight days of early-season racing.
Cyclingnews understands that Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-QuickStep are both likely to ride the Vuelta a San Juan. Remco Evenepoel won the 2020 race and could make his return to racing in Argentina after his terrible crash at Il Lombardia, while Peter Sagan has ridden in Argentina for the last two years.
With the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race already cancelled, the Vuelta a San Juan will be the first major race of the men’s 2021 season, only overlapping with the Challenge Mallorca races and the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise which traditionally kicks off the French calendar.
The stages have still to be confirmed but most will start in the San Juan Villicum motor racing circuit to simplify logistics and help protect the riders. The race traditionally includes a short time trial and a mountain finish at the 2,565m high Alto Colorado. The racing is expected to be broadcast live on Eurosport and other channels.
A number of leading teams refused to face the risk of quarantine before and after the races in Australia but special provisions will be in place for the Vuelta a San Juan.
The race will be protected by a strict bubble, with riders and staff tested before and during the race, facilitating their travel. Riders will also have special COVID-19 safe medical care in case of crashes or illness.
“The San Juan government, the governor Sergio Uñac and the minister of sport all want the race to go ahead despite all the problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic," race director Roberto Amadio told Tuttobiciweb, confirming information received by Cyclingnews.
“Fortunately the number of COVID-19 cases in San Juan is quite low because it is an isolated part of the country. That has helped ensure the race goes ahead.”
Evenepoel made his professional debut at the 2019 Vuelta a San Juan and returned last year to start a run of early season victories. Evenepoel won the 15.5km time trial and then successfully defended his race lead on the Alto Colorado finish.
“We’re planning a high profile race, we’re part of the UCI Pro Series calendar and so there will be WorldTour teams, ProTeams and international Continental teams, as well as the South American national squad that the UCI allows to ride to help cycling in South America,” Amadio said.
“A lot of teams are planning for 2021 and in contact they want to get back racing. The teams we’ve contacted have confirmed their interest. The race budget has been reduced slightly but there will be three and perhaps four WorldTour teams and four or five International ProTeams. We hope to have 22 or 23 teams on the final start list.”
Cyclingnews will have full coverage of the 2021 Vuelta a San Juan.
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