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Light at end of tunnel? Officials back Burgos race in late July

WorldTour teams promise to be at Spanish race if health authorities give final OK in what would be first major event since March.

Finally some good news: Spain’s Vuelta a Burgos — July 28 to August 1 — is a go.

After months of endless race cancellations and dire news, officials from the Spanish race confirmed Tuesday that the Burgos race will run the event as scheduled. There’s an important caveat — it’s all dependent on if health authorities allow it — but at least it’s a bit of good news for a peloton battered for months by negative headlines.

“It’s great to see Vuelta Burgos will be going ahead,” Mitchelton-Scott sport director Matt White told VeloNews. “We will now wait for UCI/team and Spanish health protocols to be finalized before we lock in more concrete plans. After a four-month break from racing, everybody involved can’t wait to get season 2020 V2 [Version 2.0] back on the road.”

Cesar Rico, president of the provincial government of Burgos, confirmed Tuesday that local authorities will back the race. There were question marks about its future over worries about high costs in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but it appears that officials changed their minds despite reports from local media that authorities had initially decided to cancel the race.

Rico said the race, set to celebrate its 75th anniversary in July, would still need to be approved by regional and national health authorities, and comply with international racing standards outlined by the UCI.

Yet the green light for the race marks the first confirmation that cycling could see a resumption of racing as part of a revised calendar following an unprecedented race stoppage since mid-March.

The race — ranked 2.Pro on the international calendar — is also significant that it will be the first race that WorldTour teams would be able to start in the UCI’s updated calendar. Other races remain on the calendar, including the Sibiu Tour in Romania, but WorldTour teams cannot race those lower-ranked events.

Always a favorite for riders approaching the Vuelta a España in a traditional year, former winners include Mikel Landa, Nairo Quintana, and Alberto Contador. Ivan Sosa (Ineos) has won the past two editions.

White confirmed that Mitchelton-Scott would be sending a full team to the five-stage race that features of a mix of sprints and climbs, including an annual trip into the Sierra de la Demanda.

Other WorldTour teams likely to participate include Israel Start-Up Nation, Movistar, and maybe others. With the WorldTour clicking back into gear August 1 at Strade Bianche, and the Tour de France scheduled for August 29-September 20, teams will be keen to resume racing as soon as possible.