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The Vuelta a España will return to the Basque Country for the first time in more than 30 years for its 2011 edition.
The Spanish tour has steered clear of the Spain’s cycling hotbed since the late 1970s, but officials have confirmed that Bilbao and Vitoria will play host to stages near the end of next year’s race.
The Vuelta once had a rich history in Spain’s Basque Country, one of Europe’s most passionate cycling communities. The race was previously organized by Basque Country newspapers before the event was sold to UniPublic.
The Vuelta was long associated with the Franco government, however, and nationalistic Basque protesters in 1978 forced the cancellation of a stage in San Sebastián when rocks, tree trunks and other debris were dumped onto the course. The race has not returned since.
Changes in regional government and the continued passion for cycling in the Basque Country have re-opened the doors to the Vuelta. Route details will be revealed in the coming months.