The peloton gathered in the shadow of Burgos cathedral on Tuesday for a Vuelta a Burgos like no other, both for depth of the field and the extent of the precautions being taken due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The five-day event is traditionally a warm-up for the Vuelta a España. In 2020, the redrawn calendar means that the Vuelta a Burgos signals the beginning of the countdown to the Tour de France. More importantly, it is something of a test event for the feasibility of holding professional bike races at all during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The start area in the centre of Burgos was closed off to the public, while riders reported for duty wearing face masks and they underwent temperature checks before mounting the sign-on podium.
There was a further stark reminder of the challenges of resuming competition when Israel Start-Up Nation signed on with five riders rather than the full complement of seven. Itamar Einhorn was withdrawn on the eve of the race as a precautionary measure after one of the team’s riders not in Burgos tested positive for COVID-19.
The rest of the teams at the Vuelta a Burgos were able to start with a full roster, and a star-studded peloton that includes Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) set out on stage 1, which concludes with a hilltop finish at Mirador del Castillo.
Scroll through the gallery of images from the start line of the Vuelta a Burgos above.
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