Tentative plans for the Vuelta a España to spend up to four days in the Canary Islands in 2012 have been postponed for a year. According to reports in the local press, the decision has been taken for two reasons: firstly, because Vuelta organisers Unipublic have to finalise the route of the 2012 edition in the coming weeks, and, secondly, because the regional government in the archipelago doesn’t yet have the budget in place to host the race.
However, the indications are that Unipublic are still determined to take the Vuelta back to the Canary Islands, which hosted the race for the only time in 1988. That year, when the race was won by Ireland’s Sean Kelly, the first three stages took place on the archipelago.
Negotiations between Unipublic and the regional government in the Canary Islands began in early August and progressed to the point where both sides have agreed on the islands hosting four stages – two on Gran Canaria and two on Tenerife. These stages would feature ascents of the two major climbs on these two islands: the Pico de las Nieves on Gran Canaria and Mount Teide on Tenerife, which is a favoured location among pro riders for high-altitude training camps.
These stages are now likely to take place during the 2013 Vuelta, providing Unipublic with a spectacular new battleground during the final week of that race.
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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