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Vuelta a Espana

News, results, commentary, and photos on the season’s final grand tour.

The season’s final grand tour will start in Nimes, France, on August 19 and end in Madrid on September 10. The 3,298-kilometer race includes five mountaintop finishes, including the fearsome Angliru, which comes on the race’s penultimate day.

Race director Javier Guillen told a press conference ahead of the 13th stage of this year’s event in Bilbao that the idea came to him when he attended a bullfight in the southern French city in 2012.

“I liked this city and I made contact with city officials in Nimes, with whom there was an instant rapport because they love Spanish culture. We’ve been working on this project for several years now,” said Guillen, who was accompanied by Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme.

It will be just the third time the race has started outside of Spain — it began in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon in 1997 and in Assen, Netherlands in 2009.

Racing begins with a team time trial on French soil — only the third time the Vuelta has started abroad. Stage 16 will also be a time trial, a mostly flat, 42-kilometer individual test in Navarra. With five flat stages in the first 14 days of the race, sprinters may be encouraged to stick around before stages 15-17, three mountain stages and the TT, which should be central to the battle for the overall.

“The third week will be even more important,” said Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué, who’s top rider Nairo Quintana won the 2016 Vuelta. “First up, there’s the Los Arcos to Logroño ITT, a special day for us as we will be racing home in the Navarra roads. Then, another two mountaintop finishes, and the always demanding Cantabria hills. And at the end, L’Angliru, a final, hellish chance for those who still want to conquer the race. I feel like it’s a Vuelta route even harder than in previous occasions, and I’m sure it’ll be spectacular.”

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) will be the outright favorite. Three times second, including last year’s infamous “Froomigal” stage, Froome intends to winning the Vuelta once and for all. On Monday, he confirmed he will race.

“I’ve come second three times now, and I’d love to win the Vuelta,” Froome said Monday. “The Vuelta is a race I love racing. It’s a vicious race, but it’s three weeks that I enjoy.”

Froome, 32, is also targeting cycling’s grand tour double that remains unconquered. A handful riders have won the Vuelta and Tour in the same season, but that was when the Vuelta was held in April. Since it moved to late summer, no one has won the Tour and then the Vuelta.

After seconds in 2011, 2014, and 2016, Froome wants to check the Spanish tour off his bucket list.

“To win the Tour and Vuelta in one year would be absolutely incredible,” he said. “I’ve got the opportunity now, and I’m certainly going to go for it.”

Team Sky tweaked his training schedule this year to have more miles in his legs to take on the Vuelta. He didn’t race as much this spring, in part to be stronger in the final week of the Tour. The Vuelta was very much part of that equation.

It won’t be a cakewalk for Froome, but a few big names are skipping the Vuelta. Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), and defending champion Nairo Quintana and the injured Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won’t be racing.

A few Tour riders might also start the Vuelta, including Fabio Aru (Astana) or Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale).

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), who beat back Froome in 2014, is also mulling a Vuelta start.

A number of top riders are expected to race the Vuelta. The 2010 winner Vincenzo Nibali is high on the list. He skipped the Tour after racing to third in the Giro d’Italia.

Other Giro riders expected to line up for Vuelta include Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), Bob Jungels (Quick-Step), and Steve Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo).

Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), third in the 2015 Vuelta, will also line up for the Vuelta after crashing out of the Tour.

Orica-Scott will go all-in with three GC threats: Esteban Chaves and the Yates twin brothers.

1 08/19/2017 Nîmes to Nîmes 13.8km DETAILS
2 08/20/2017 Nîmes to Gruissan 201km DETAILS
3 08/21/2017 Prades Conflent Canigó to Andorra la Vella 158.5km DETAILS
4 08/22/2017 Escaldes-Engordany to Tarragona 193km DETAILS
5 08/23/2017 Benicàssim to Alcossebre 173.4km DETAILS
6 08/24/2017 Vila-real to Sagunt 198km DETAILS
7 08/25/2017 Llíria to Cuenca 205.2km DETAILS
8 08/26/2017 Hellín to Xorret de Catí 184km DETAILS
9 08/27/2017 Orihuela to Cumbre del Sol 176.3km DETAILS
10 08/29/2017 Caravaca to ElPozo Alimentación 171km DETAILS
11 08/30/2017 Lorca to Observatorio Astronómico de Calar Alto 188km DETAILS
12 08/31/2017 Motril to Antequera 161.4km DETAILS
13 09/01/2017 Coín to Tomares 197km DETAILS
14 09/02/2017 Écija to Sierra de La Pandera 185.5km DETAILS
15 09/03/2017 Alcalá la Real to Sierra Nevada 127km DETAILS
16 09/05/2017 Circuito de Navarra to Logroño 42km DETAILS
17 09/06/2017 Villadiego to Los Machucos 180km DETAILS
18 09/07/2017 Suances to Santo Toribio de Liébana 168.5km DETAILS
19 09/08/2017 Parque Natural de Redes to Gijón 153km DETAILS
20 09/09/2017 Corvera de Asturias to Alto de l'Angliru 119.2km DETAILS
21 09/10/2017 Arroyomolinos to Madrid 101.9km DETAILS

Results will be published once race is underway.

Results will be published once race is underway.

Check back for full coverage once the race is underway.