La Vuelta plans for start in Northern Spain as Dutch start scrapped
The Vuelta, or Tour of Spain plans to begin in the Basque Country after cancelling its planned start in the Netherlands with 18 stages
la Vuelta was scheduled to begin on 14 August in Utrecht and finish on September 6 in Madrid but the race has been postponed to a date as yet unknown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It will also now depart from Irun in Spain and include 18 stages, three less than originally scheduled after the removal of the Dutch stages..
This decision has left no room for the Vuelta on its scheduled dates.
“La Vuelta 20 will not take off from the Netherlands,” the organisers said. “Due to the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the organising committee of La Vuelta Holanda has been forced to cancel the official departure of the race from the Dutch regions of Utrecht and North Brabant.”
The 2021 start has already been allocated to Burgos in northern Spain. Organisers said they hoped to start the 2022 race in the Netherlands instead.
It will be the first time the Vuelta features fewer than 21 stages since 1985.
"It is obvious that when you design the race, you do not expect not to have to make changes of this magnitude, but we have to be sensitive with the current situation and we have to assume that it is very difficult to substitute an official start at this point for all the planning and logistics involved," said the director of La Vuelta, Javier Guillen.
Spain has just eased the lockdown allowing people out for a daily walk or exercise for the first time in seven weeks as part of the country’s easing of lockdown restrictions.
The country has had one of the worst outbreaks with more than 24,500 deaths. In mid-March it imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, allowing people out only for essential trips or to walk a dog.