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The Vuelta a España will climb to new heights in 2022, with five new summit finales expected in next year’s route.
The official unveiling is slated for Thursday evening in Spain, but according to Spanish media reports, many of the course details have already been leaked out.
The Spanish daily AS reported that the route will include nine summit finishes, with five of them being featured in the race for the first time.
Though not all of the course details have been confirmed, Spanish media reports that Pico Jano in Cantabria, and Tentudía, a climb in Spain’s Extremadura, will debut as new summits. Other hints suggest a new climb in Spain’s Sierra de Guadarrama near Madrid.
Vuelta director Javier Guillén, speaking during a recent awards ceremony, said the 2022 Vuelta route will live up to expectations.
“The Vuelta is the race among the three grand tour with the best image. We’ve maximized the personality of the race,” Guillén told EP. “Everyone knows what they will find at the Vuelta, and that there will be uncertainty right until the end.”
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Guillén called the 2020 edition, contested in the fall of the COVID season, the “most complicated to organize” in the race’s history. He also ranked the Vuelta ahead of the Giro in terms of importance, and said the Spanish grand tour has evolved the most among cycling’s three major stage races.
“We’ve introduced this structure with spicy finales that’s working very well,” Guillén said. “We’re a race that looks to the skies since the beginning. We prefer a climb to a sprint. The epic moments of this sport come in the mountains.”
— La Vuelta (@lavuelta) December 16, 2021
The expectation is also growing within Spain that the Vuelta will be the last race on home roads for Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who retires at the end of 2022.
The 77th edition of the Spanish grand tour will run from August 19 to September 11, with the start already confirmed for Utrecht in the Netherlands with a team time trial. Utrecht will become the first city to host the start of all three grand tours, already debuting the Giro d’Italia in 2010 and the Tour de France in 2015.
There will be two more stages in the Netherlands, with a stage from s’Hertogenbosch to Utrecht, and another starting and finishing in Breda.
Spain’s Basque Country will receive the Vuelta caravan and the region will host three stages.
According to AS, the route will push west across Cantabria to reach Asturias, where another one of the “new” climbs is expected to be featured. The course is expected to enter south into León, with a likely return to La Camperona climb, then move further south to Alicante and Andalucía in the second half.
The route is expected to feature a decisive summit on the penultimate day before concluding in central Madrid.