Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta a España bans public, prohibiting spectators on major climbs

Vuelta a España officials urging fans to stay at home as health conditions worsen in Spain.

Vuelta a España officials are full-speed ahead with plans to host the season’s third grand tour starting October 20 despite worsening COVID-19 conditions across many parts of Spain.

On Tuesday, race officials confirmed that several of the Vuelta’s key mountain summits, including the decisive stages ending at Angliru, Tourmalet, and Farrapona climbs, will be contested without fans being allowed to line the roads. The restrictions will also apply to some starts and finishes, as well as transitory climbs along the route.

“La Vuelta deeply regrets that the current epidemiological situation in Spain does not allow the adequate conditions required for the public to be present at those points,” a race statement read Tuesday. “The objective is to avoid any type of crowds surrounding the event, by respecting the criteria established by the national and autonomous health authorities at all times.”

It appears “cycling behind closed doors” will be very much a part of the 2020 Vuelta, set to run through November 8.

The race also confirmed it will cancel its publicity caravan and Parque Vuelta, a sponsor tent expo area at each day’s finish. Following a queue from the Tour de France, which also owns the Vuelta, much of the race infrastructure will be altered for this year’s race. The team bus-parking area will be off-limits to fans and media, and start and finish-line areas will be reduced.

The moves come as the Vuelta is set to begin in Spain’s Basque Country next Tuesday, just as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to spike across Spain. Several cities in Spain have seen the restrictions being imposed, including parts of Madrid, Pamplona, León, as well as other metropolitan areas.

Race officials have been holding back-channel talks with regional and national health authorities to assure that the race will be able to be contested as scheduled.

Speaking on Spanish radio, race director Javier Guillén said it’s better to hold the Vuelta with restrictions on fan access than not to have the race at all.

“Right now, there is no limitation on the race being held,” Guillén said. “We will resolve any incidents if they arise because we have to remain flexible. The fans are the soul of the sport of cycling, but this year, we have to adapt to the situation.”

Similar to at the Tour, police and security staff will cut off access to the key mountain summits.

In fact, the Vuelta’s official website is encouraging fans to not attend, posting this message: “Help us protect the Vuelta, please, stay home.”

Here are the climbs where fans will not be allowed to attend:

Arrate

La Laguna Negra

Col du Tourmalet

Orduña

Alto de Moncalvillo

Alto de la Farrapona

Alto de l’Angliru

Mirador de Ézaro

Alto de la Covatilla