The organisers of the Vuelta a España are working as though the Spanish Grand Tour will still go ahead as normal later this summer, despite the uncertainty stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
While the spring calendar, including the Giro d'Italia, has been wiped out by Covid-19, the summer and autumn races are waiting to see how the situation develops in the coming weeks.
Spain, where more than 3,000 have died as a result of the coronavirus, is currently on lockdown, with riders not allowed outside to train. The Vuelta a España is due to start in Utrecht, in the Netherlands, on August 14, and finish in Madrid on September 6.
"It's a new set of circumstances, but the whole Vuelta team is working with motivation, and with the idea that the Vuelta will go ahead," race director Javier Guillén told Spanish news agency EFE this week.
"We have to be prepared. For that reason, I'm transmitting excitement and motivation in these difficult times, and I can assure you that we are all more coordinated and united than ever. We want to put on a great Vuelta 2020 – the best in history."
With the Giro d'Italia postponed and the Tour de France under threat, there have been various ideas recently over how to structure the rest of the cycling season. Provided the coronavirus situation improves, many races will be looking towards the autumn. CCC Team's Matteo Trentin proposed a combination of the three Grand Tours, with a week each in Spain, France and Italy, while former UCI president Brian Cookson suggested that the Grand Tours could be cut to two weeks.
Guillén, however, dismissed those ideas and is refusing to get distracted by other races. Nor is he looking into ways to run a 'stripped-down' Vuelta, as is being considered with the Tour de France.
From the sponsors to road closures and police presence, it's business as usual, for now.
"I'm worried by everything that's happening, but above all from a human point of view. It's an exceptional, unheard of, unprecedented situation," Guillén said.
"From here, I'm trying to comply with the established measures, which are necessary, and I'm using work as therapy.
"We're discovering new things, such as videoconferencing technology, and we're working with a new ideas committee with motivation and imagination."
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