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LEON, Spain (VN) — The route for the 2012 Vuelta a España will likely return to Spain’s Basque Country as well as the Pyrénées.
That’s according to the Spanish daily MARCA, which reported that the route for next year’s Spanish tour will be revealed in mid-January in Pamplona, set to host the start of the 2012 edition on August 18 with a team time trial.
According to the report, the Vuelta will also likely head back to the Basque Country, the cycling hotbed which hosted successful stages in this year’s edition for the first time in three decades. The Pyrénées are likely back on the menu, though talks of taking the Vuelta to the Canary Islands has been put on hold until at least 2013.
MARCA also reported that the mountain-top finish at the Bola del Mundo, which debuted with an exciting showdown during the 2010 edition, will also likely be featured next season.
City officials in Pamplona have already hinted that the team time trial will trace part of the route used during the “running of the bulls” of the city’s emblematic San Fermines fiesta.
The Vuelta will return to Pamplona for the first time since 1994. The city hosted a stage in the 1996 Tour de France, which served as a homage to hometown hero Miguel Indurain who fell short that year of winning a sixth straight Tour.
Vuelta officials have already hinted that the 2012 edition will be less demanding than the rugged, brutal course the peloton tackled this year.
Many riders said this year’s mountainous Vuelta was the hardest grand tour they’ve ever raced. Abraham Olano, the Vuelta’s technical director, said the route next year will continue to explore the smaller backroads of Spain, but will likely include less climbing.
The 67th Vuelta will run from August 18 and will conclude September 9 in Madrid.