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Vuelta a España 2021: Stage 1 preview

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Stage 1 profile 2021 Vuelta a España

Stage 1 profile 2021 Vuelta a España (Image credit: Unipublic)
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Map stage 1 2021 Vuelta a España

Stage 1 map of 2021 Vuelta a España (Image credit: Unipublic)

Stage 1: Burgos to Burgos

Date: August 14, 2021 

Distance: 7.1km 

Stage timing: 17:11 - 20:30 CEST

Stage type: Time Trial

Vuelta a España stage 1 preview video

The Vuelta a España gets under way with a short time trial in the heart of Burgos that will celebrate the 800th anniversary of the city’s cathedral. Extending to just 7.1km in length, the time trial starts in front of the cathedral, the first rider heading down the start ramp just after 5 p.m. local time, the last taking to the start just after 8 p.m. in the evening, with the schedule designed to ensure the highest possible turnout of spectators.

Race director Fernando Escartín has described the course as “highly technical”. Mixing long straights with tight changes of direction, the urban route should suit the time trial specialists, although the inclusion of a third-category ascent at the midway point could tip the advantage towards the GC favourites, notably defending champion Primož Roglič.

After weaving away from the start, the riders will soon be onto the first straight section, which leads into a 270-degree turn, beyond which the route sweeps beneath the city’s castle. Another sharp turn leads onto the climb up to the fortress, the gradient averaging 7.1 per cent for a touch more than a kilometre to the crest, where the intermediate time check will be taken.

Then dropping down from the castle, the course travels across the northern edge of the city centre, turns south and, finally, west, following wide avenues for the most part. The final section through the narrow streets surrounding the cathedral is more technical. Escartín believes the time gaps between the favourites will be very small indeed, amounting to perhaps no more than 15 seconds.

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). 

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