By Agence France Presse
Organizers of the Vuelta a España on Wednesday unveiled the course for the 60th edition of the Spanish national tour, which will see 21 teams tackle a 3239km (2012.71-mile) course in 2005.
With the UCI world road championships taking place in the Spanish capital of Madrid one week after the event, which starts on August 27 and ends on September 18, the race will be a meaty hors d’oeuvre and the riders will get a chance to check out the championship course over the final stretch in Madrid.
The racers will work up an early sweat right from the word go, opening with a 9km individual time trial in the southern city of Granada, which will in late August be blisteringly hot. The next day brings a 188km sweep up to Cordoba.
The fourth stage will be the longest, a 220km ride from Ciudad Real to Argamasilla de Alba. Thereafter, the teams will snake north eastwards, past the “hanging houses” of Cuenca for the sixth stage on September 1, before the ninth stage, a 35km time trial around Barcelona, where the riders will proceed right past the Nou Camp football stadium.
Six mountain stages will follow as the Vuelta returns to the Pyrénées, heading into the tiny Catalan-speaking principality of Andorra, where they will hit the highest altitude of the Vuelta, 2230m at the Ordino-Arcalis ski station.
In all, the racers face 21 third-category climbs and 11 each of first- and second-category ascents. Other significant ramps include the beyond-category climbs to Aramón Cerler ski resort (1930m, Stage 11); Covadonga Lakes (1100m, Stage 14); and Valgrande/Pajares ski resort (1500m, Stage 17). Adding insult to injury will be the two trips up the 1880m Cat. 1 Navacerrada climb in Stage 17.
September 7 brings a post-Pyrenean rest day before a renewed crack at the climbs in the Picos mountains of the northern region of Asturias. After another breather on September 12, the race heads on down central western Spain towards Madrid.
A third and final individual time trial of 40km will take place on September 20 between Guadalajara and the historic university city of Alcala de Henares before a 140km run around Madrid on the final day.
The run to Alcala is an historic nod towards the 400th anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes’s world famous novel Don Quixote, which the novelist was inspired to write while living in the city.
Because of the proximity of the world championships, the race is not as tough as it might have been, with just three stages topping 200km.
“Let’s hope that by the time it kicks off Madrid will be an Olympic city,” said new Spanish Cycling Federation President Fulgencio Sanchez Montesinos, alluding to Madrid’s candidacy for the 2012 Summer Games.
Race organizers called on participants, who will include three-time reigning champion and home hope Roberto Heras, to ensure that all racers respect the “ethics and sense of competition,” with television to broadcast the event around the globe.
The 2005 Vuelta a España, 3239km
August 27-September 18
Saturday, August 27:
Stage 1, Granada-Granada (I.T.T.), 9km
Sunday, August 28:
Stage 2, Granada-Córdoba, 188km
Monday, August 29:
Stage 3, Córdoba-Puertollano, 150km
Tuesday, August 30:
Stage 4, Ciudad Real-Argamasilla de Alba, 220km
Wednesday, August 31:
Stage 5, Alcázar de San Juan-Cuenca, 175km
Thursday, September 1:
Stage 6, Cuenca-Estación de Esquí Aramón Valdelinares, 205km
Friday, September 2:
Stage 7, Teruel-Vinaròs, 210km
Saturday, September 3:
Stage 8, Tarragona (Rambla Nova)-Lloret de Mar, 180km
Sunday, September 4:
Stage 9, F.C. Barcelona-Camp Nou (I.T.T.), 35km
Monday, September 5:
Stage 10, La Vall d’En Bas (Girona)-Estació d’Esquí d’Ordino-Arcalís (Andorra), 195km
Tuesday, September 6:
Stage 11, Andorra-Estación de Esquí Aramón Cerler, 187km
Wednesday, September 7:
Day off and transfer
Thursday, September 8:
Stage 12, Logroño-Burgos, 145km
Friday, September 9:
Stage 13, Burgos-Santuario de la Bien Aparecida (Ampuero), 170km
Saturday, September 10:
Stage 14, Nestlé / La Penilla-Lagos de Covadonga, 170km
Sunday, September 11:
Stage 15, Cangas de Onís-Estación de Esquí Valgrande / Pajares, 190km
Monday, September 12:
Day off and transfer
Tuesday, September 13:
Stage 16, León-Valladolid, 150km
Wednesday, September 14:
Stage 17, El Espinar-La Granja de San Ildefonso, 160km
Thursday, September 15:
Stage 18, Ávila-Ávila, 180km
Friday, September 16:
Stage 19, San Martín de Valdeiglesias-Alcobendas, 140km
Saturday, September 17:
Stage 20, Guadalajara-Alcalá de Henares (I.T.T.), 40km
Sunday, September 18:
Stage 21, Madrid-Madrid, 140km