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Guillén: ‘Vuelta a España with restrictions is better than alternative’

Vuelta organizers pushing on with preparations while recognizing race will need ultimate approval of health authorities.

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Vuelta a España officials said racing the Spanish grand tour “behind closed doors” is far from ideal, but not undoable.

Officials are pushing ahead with plans for the 2020 race — set to run from October 20 to November 8 — despite admitting coronavirus might put restrictions on the race.

“Having a Vuelta without fans is not unfeasible, but it is certainly not desirable, because the race would lose its essence,” said race boss Javier Guillén. “A Vuelta with some restrictions on the public is better than no Vuelta at all.”

Guillén, who confirmed last week that two stages planned for Portugal will be rerouted to stay within Spain, said the race is doing all it can to be ready for competition, always recognizing that the ultimate approval must come from Spanish health authorities.

“If tests have to be done on all the riders we’ll do so,” Guillén told AS. “The Vuelta peloton is so international. It would be a decisive setback if foreign riders would have to undergo a two-week quarantine upon arrival in Spain. I am confident there would be exceptions made.”

Guillén, speaking to a group of sports journalists in Málaga, also admitted that some of the race’s backers are struggling financially, and said if the economic fallout continues into 2021, things could turn bleak for cycling.

“This crisis is impacting the budgets of our companies as well of our partners, some of whom are announcing cutbacks,” Guillén said. “They want to continue with the Vuelta, so we have to adapt to the new situation.”