The route of the 2011 Vuelta Espana has been officially unveiled in Benidorm, confirming rumours of a return of the Angliru climb and a visit to the Basque Country for the first time in 33 years.
2010 Vuelta winner Vincenzo Nibali was amongst the riders present in Benidorm, where the race will start on August 20 with a 16km team time trial. The race will end in Madrid on September 11 after a total of 3295km of racing.
Surprisingly the 66th edition of the Vuelta avoids the Catalunya region and the Pyrenees but includes six mountain finishes, two of which have never been climbed before. These are to Estacion de Montaña Manzaneda in Galicia on stage 11 and La Farrapona in the Asturias region on stage 14.
The race returns to Valdepeñas de Jaen in 2011 and to San Lorenzo del Escorial, which ends with a final kilometre at 23%. The race visits the Sierra Nevada near Granada and the infamous Angliru is also back on stage 15, as is the Peña Cabarga, where Igor Anton crashed out last year.
The only time trial is over 40km around Salamanca on stage 10, making the Vuelta a race for the climbers.
The Basque Country will host the final decisive stages before a transfer to Madrid for a 94km circuit finish. Stage 19 from Noja to Bilbao is flat but stage 20 from Bilbao to Vitoria includes four first category climbs.
The Vuelta in a nutshell
* 9 flat stages
* 10 mountain stages
* 1 team time-trial stage
* 1 individual time-trial stage
Distinctive aspects of the race
* 6 summit finishes
* 2 rest days
* 14 km. team time-trial
* 40 km. individual time-trial stage