Race director Javier Guillén has said that he does not envisage any further changes to the 2020 Vuelta a España following Saturday’s announcement that the two stages in Portugal have been removed from the route due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Guillén said that he has already found alternative finish and start towns in Spain for stages 15 and 16, with an announcement to follow once the precise stage routes have been devised. He told the EFE news agency that he envisaged no other alterations to the 2020 Vuelta.
“Once the presentation of the new stages is made, no further changes are expected to the eighteen stages that make up the Vuelta a España this year,” Guillén said.
The 2020 Vuelta was initially scheduled to take place from August 14 to September 6, but the race has been shortened to 18 stages and postponed until October 20 to November 8 after the COVID-19 pandemic saw competition suspended and the UCI calendar revised.
The shortened Vuelta route had already been shorn of the three opening stages in the Netherlands and on Saturday, the organisation announced that the race would not pass into Portugal. The stage 6 summit finish on the Col du Tourmalet in France remains in place.
"When we were given the [new] dates for the Vuelta, we already said that the route could vary, and we were talking about the stage to Porto,” Guillén said. “We have already agreed that the race will not pass through that wonderful city this year."
Stage 15 of the Vuelta was due to cross from Galicia into Portugal and finish in Porto. The following day’s stage was to start in Viseu and then return to Spain for a stage finish at Ciudad Rodrigo.
“Porto expressed certain doubts about COVID-19 and they could not confirm availability, so we reached an agreement that if it could not be this year, then would plan for the next and not only with Porto, but with other Portuguese cities," said Guillén.
“Obviously, we will not be able to make the departure from Viseu the following day. There are already substitute venues in place, and we will communicate them once we have finished fine-tuning the routes.”