Organisers of the Vuelta a Espana invited some of cycling's top stars past and present to the 2019 route presentation Wednesday in Alicante, where 2018 winner Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), runner-up Enric Mas (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and third-placed Miguel Ángel López (Astana) joined former winners Alberto Contador and Pedro Delgado among the officials, fans and team managers.
The 2019 route trims back the number of mountain finishes from previous years, but there will still be plenty of climbing. New for 2019, however, will be the first-ever gravel section as the peloton races over 4km of dirt track during stage 9 from Andorra la Vella to Cortals d'Encamp.
The 74th edition of the Spanish Grand Tour will take place between August 24 and September 15. Setting out from Salinas de Torrevieja with a team time trial, the Vuelta will conclude in Madrid after 3,272.2km of racing. The route will include eight uphill finishes, five of which are new.
"It’s going to be a hard but very interesting Vuelta, with surprises, intrigue and emotion guaranteed," said Vuelta a Espana General Manager Javier Guillén. "There will be short-but-intense stages, including innovation and new and unprecedented ascents. The Vuelta brand is what it is, and we will never give it up. To the contrary, we seek to strengthen it."
Click or swipe through the gallery above for a look at the presentation in Alicante.