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The Vuelta a España will not ascend the Col d’Aubisque or the Col du Tourmalet as originally planned due to the coronavirus situation in France, organizers announced on Thursday.
Stage 6 of this year’s Vuelta was set to cross over the French border at the Col du Portalet, go up and over the Col d’Aubisque, and conclude with a summit finish on the Tourmalet, but as was the case with the Giro d’Italia’s planned trek into France for a stage 20 visit to the Col d’Izoard, organizers had to alter the route due to coronavirus restrictions amid rising cases in France.
Instead of finishing on the Tourmalet on October 25, the Vuelta’s sixth stage will now ascend to the Aramón Formigal ski area, where Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana famously put over three minutes into Chris Froome after firing off a long-range attack on stage 15 of the 2016 Vuelta. The revamped sixth stage of this year’s race features a profile very similar to that of the 2016 Vuelta’s 15th stage.
“Stage 6 of La Vuelta 20 will start from Biescas, as planned – but the route from then on is completely different,” read a statement from Vuelta organizers.
“It will be a 146.4-kilometer stage, with 3040 meters of vertical elevation. The peloton will face two categorized climbs, the Alto de Petralba (Cat 3) and the Alto de Cotefablo (Cat 2), before a new passage through Biescas (where there will be an Intermediate Sprint) that will lead to the final climb to the ski station of Aramón Formigal.”
In addition to its appearance in the 2016 Vuelta, the Formigal has hosted four other summit finishes in the Vuelta’s history.
Like the other summit finishes at this year’s race, the Formigal will be closed to the public on Saturday’s stage 6 due to coronavirus concerns.