The Vuelta a España could finish outside Madrid for the first time since 1993 next year according to reports in the Spanish media, with the western Galicia region keen to host the final stage of cycling's third Grand Tour in 2014.
Galician daily La Voz de Galicia reported on Friday that a night-time time trial in the region’s capital city of Santiago de Compostela is likely to bring down the curtain on the race next year. The Galicia region hosted the start of this year's race with an opening team time trial stage.
The Galician daily newspaper claims that a year after hosting the start of Spain’s biggest three-week race, the northwesterly region of Spain will probably feature the Vuelta’s four concluding stages. That would include a summit finish at Ancares, last tackled in 2012 and one of the most difficult climbs in the area, prior to the time trial showdown on Sunday September 14th.
For years the Vuelta finished in the Basque Country, but since 1979, when current organiser Unipublic took over, it has only finished outside Madrid four times. The last time was in 1993, in Santiago de Compostela, and the last time it finished with a race against the clock was in 2004.
Although the Galician finish has yet to be officially confirmed, what is certain is that the Vuelta is due to start on August 23rd in southwest Spain - most probably in in the town of Jerez de la Frontera, almost certainly with a time trial.
A definitive route will not be revealed until December or early January. The USA's Chris Horner (Radioshack-Leopard) won this year's Vuelta a Espana after defeating Italy's Vincenzo Nibali in the thrilling final mountain stage.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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