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Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta eyes Canary Islands finale in 2017

Vuelta a España considers an explosive finale for the 2017 grand tour on the precipitous volcanoes of the Canary Islands.

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Vuelta a España organizers appear to be closer to realizing a long-held dream of bringing the Spanish tour back to the Canary Islands.

Vuelta director Javier Guillén and local representatives are reportedly formulating plans to bring the 2017 edition of the Spanish grand tour to the archipelago, located off the African coast — about three hours by plane from the Iberia peninsula. And it appears organizers are considering a spectacular finale, with possible mountaintop finishes atop the Teide and Pico de las Nieves volcanoes on the Atlantic islands.

The Diario de las Palmas, a local newspaper on Gran Canaria, reported that Unipublic has presented a plan to local officials that proposes bringing four closing stages of the Spanish grand tour to the islands. Two stages would run on Gran Canaria and two on Tenerife, including possible mountaintop finales at the Pico de las Nieves (1,945m) on Gran Canaria, and the Teide volcano (3,718m) on Tenerife. Teide has been the focus of high-altitude training camps among many of the top GC favorites over the past several years.

The Vuelta has been trying to bring the Spanish grand tour back to the islands for the past several years. The Vuelta visited the islands once before. In 1988, the race started with an opening prologue, a road stage, and a team time trial on Tenerife, before transferring to the mainland. Sean Kelly won that edition of the grand tour.

Travel and logistical hassles may be the major hurdles to overcome. There could also be debate as to whether the tour should start or the finish on the islands. With such high mountains (Teide is the highest peak in Spain), it may make more sense to conclude the Vuelta on the islands, rather than start the race with brutal climbing.

Nothing is confirmed, but the reports suggest that negotiations are well underway.

The 2016 Vuelta route, meanwhile, will be revealed January 9. The race will start in Spain’s Galicia region, and loop north, with expected stages at Lagos de Covadonga in Asturias at the end of the first week, before looping south.