Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta lives up to billing as climber’s battle with eight mountaintop finishes

No less than eight mountaintop finales are expected to be on tap for the 2015 Vuelta, which will be officially unveiled Sunday

The Vuelta a España will yet again live up to its billing as a climber’s paradise in 2015.

The official route will be unveiled in Malaga on Sunday, but it’s hard to keep secrets in Spain, where communities are keen to promote their involvement with the Spanish tour through local newspapers. The basics of the route are already all but confirmed by several Spanish media, and the 70th edition looks like a winner.

“The Vuelta now has its own personality,” Vuelta race director Javier Guillén told VeloNews in an earlier interview. “Explosive finals, shorter stages, new climbs, original stage starts, these are the ingredients of our race. We now have an important identity, and we will continue building that.”

With the way the course is shaping up, it appears that there will be eight mountaintop finales, and one longer time trial (about 40km) in the final week, enough to keep things interesting until the race concludes with a circuit course in Madrid.

Officials will reveal the details this weekend, but it appears that all of the summit finales will be on climbs never used before by the Vuelta.

According to a report in the Spanish daily MARCA, there will be no less than four summit finishes in the opening nine days of racing, forcing riders to be on their toes right from the gun. One long, hard mountain stage across Andorra in stage 11, followed by three consecutive climbing stages across the rugged mountains of northern Spain in stages 14-16 should prove decisive.

The race opens August 22 along Spain’s Costa del Sol with a team time trial near Puerto Banus, the haunt of Europe’s filthy rich, and will trace across sunny Andalucía for the opening week. A few transition stages through Murcia and Valencia bring the Vuelta to its first rest day September 1 in Andorra. Heat will certainly be a factor in the first half of the race.

The course then skips across northern Spain before three decisive stages in Asturias, with the second rest day at Burgos on September 8, a day ahead of a long time trial the following day. The race concludes with three transition stages, including one hard mountain stage, before the Sunday finale in Madrid.

2015 Vuelta a España unofficial route

Here’s what the Vuelta course could look like, at least according to the Spanish sports daily MARCA. The official route will be revealed Sunday:

Stage 1, Saturday, August 22: Puerto Banús to Marbella (TTT)
Stage 2, Sunday, August 23: Alhaurín de la Torre to Caminito del Rey (summit)
Stage 3, Monday, August 24: Mijas to Málaga
Stage 4, Tuesday, August 25: Estepona to Vejer de la Frontera (summit)
Stage 5, Wednesday, August 26: Cádiz to Sevilla
Stage 6, Thursday, August 27: Córdoba to Sierra de Cazorla
Stage 7, Friday, August 28: Jódar to Capileira (summit)
Stage 8, Saturday, August 29: Granada to Murcia
Stage 9, Sunday, August 30: Torrevieja to Cumbre del Sol (summit)
Stage 10, Monday, August 31: Valencia to Castellón
Rest Day 1, Tuesday, September 1: Andorra
Stage 11, Wednesday, September 2: Andorra-Andorra (summit)
Stage 12, Thursday, September 3: Andorra to Lleida
Stage 13, Friday, September 4: Calatayud to Tarazona
Stage 14, Saturday, September 5: Vitoria to Fuente del Chivo (summit)
Stage 15, Sunday, September 6: Comillas to Sotres (summit)
Stage 16, Monday, September 7: Luarca to Ermita del Alba (summit)
Rest Day 2, Tuesday, September 8: Burgos
Stage 17, Wednesday, September 9: Burgos-Burgos (ITT)
Stage 18, Thursday, September 10: Roa de Duero to Valladolid
Stage 19, Friday, September 11: Medina del Campo to Ávila
Stage 20, Saturday, September 12: San Lorenzo de El Escorial to Cercedilla
Stage 21, Sunday, September 13: Madrid-Madrid