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Vuelta a España confirms cancelation of Dutch start

Vuelta organizers working to have the Netherlands open their race in 2022.

The Vuelta a España organizing committee has confirmed that the planned start for this year’s race in Utrecht, Netherlands, is canceled.

“The Vuelta ’20 will not start in the Netherlands,” announced the organizing committee Wednesday morning. “Given the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the organizing committee of ‘La Vuelta Holanda’ is forced to cancel the official start of the race from the Dutch regions of Utrecht and North Brabant.”

“The organizing committee and Unipublic [the Vuelta organizing group] were forced to take this decision after the reorganization of the 2020 cycling calendar announced by the International Cycling Union (UCI) on April 15, and the measures taken recently by the Dutch government to ban the organization of sporting events until September 1,” read the statement.

Martin van Hulsteijn, the head of the Dutch organizing committee, said that re-organizing the three days in the Netherlands, which were due to take place mid-August before the race was postponed, presented too many practical problems.

“Moving three stages, on three days, through 34 municipalities with start and finish places in various places turned out to be a bridge too far,” he said. “For example, we did not have all the needed infrastructures at our disposal. In addition, a lot of road works were carried out around the 34 participating municipalities in the autumn.”

There have been rumors of the cancelation of the ‘Dutch start’ for several weeks since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered races and large sporting events across the globe. Although the Vuelta will not start from Utrecht this year, a Dutch start is still planned, with race organizers confirming they are already working on having the Netherlands host the opening of their race in 2022. The 2021 race start has already been confirmed as taking place in Burgos, northern Spain.

Vuelta boss Javier Guillen said offering a start of the Vuelta a España in the Netherlands was “a priority”, “We saw a great hope and great involvement. It is a pleasure to work like this. The least we can do is explore the possibilities to organize a departure to the Netherlands in the near future.”

The length of this year’s Vuelta is still yet to be confirmed, though recent reports suggest the race could start in the Basque country, October 24.