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Vuelta presses for second summit finish in Asturias

The Asturia flag flies as the riders pass.

The Asturia flag flies as the riders pass. (Image credit: Unipublic)

The organisers of the 2010 Vuelta a España are looking to beef up the final week of next year’s race by pushing for a second summit finish in the northern province of Asturias.

Javier Guillén, director-general of race organiser Unipublic, was in Asturias on Thursday to press the case for a second summit finish with local officials. Unipublic have already announced that Spain’s national tour will be returning to the renowned Lagos de Covadonga climb in Asturias.

According to regional daily La Voz de Asturias, Guillén met with Misael Fernández Porrón, who is responsible for sporting issues in the province. Guillén is reported to have told Fernández that the Vuelta’s organising team would not only like to feature a second summit finish in Asturias, but also one new to the race. Three were apparently suggested: the 8 kilometre climb to the 1200m Coto Bello, the huge 28 kilometre ascent to the 1683m La Cubilla and the 20 kilometre climb up to the 1503m summit of the Somiedo.

La Voz de Asturias reports that the proposal regarding the Coto Bello was almost certainly rejected. It also suggested that officials in Asturias would prefer to see the race head back to a summit it has already visited such as La Cobertoria or Pajares. They are also concerned about the cost of hosting two stages in the province, but acknowledge the boost that two key racing days would give to the region.

If Guillén can reach agreement with Asturian officials for a second summit finish in the province, the Vuelta’s final week would be looking very tough indeed. With Lagos de Covadonga already confirmed and negotiations well under way to take the race to the new and lofty finish of Bola del Mundo, near Madrid, during the final weekend, a third summit finish in just a few days would be quite a test.

Breaking with usual protocol, the Vuelta route is due to be unveiled in Seville rather than in Madrid on December 16. Next year’s race, which celebrates the Vuelta’s 75th anniversary, will begin in Seville with a night-time prologue under lights alongside the River Guadalquivir.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).