Route revealed: 2021 Vuelta a España to end with long time trial

by José Been


The 2021 Vuelta a España was presented in Burgos today, the start place of the 76th edition of the Spanish Grand Tour. On Saturday 14th of August, the riders will take off for an individual, eight kilometres long time trial from inside the world-famous Burgos Cathedral and finish three weeks later with another time trial in Santiago de Compostela, breaking with the tradition of finishing in the city centre of Madrid.

The Vuelta presented a course with twelve new start or finish locations and featuring 45 categorized climbs, including three of the highest category. As usual, riders will be greeted by a pile of summit finishes, few transition stages, and only one stage over 200km. A very modern Vuelta, indeed. However, for the first time in twenty years, the race will feature a full-length final time trial.

After the opening time trial on Saturday and relatively flat stage on Sunday, the first uphill finish features on day three. The Picón Blanco is a regular feature the Vuelta a Burgos and offers the peloton double digits in gradients already. It’s where Remco Evenepoel beat the likes of George Bennett, Mikel Landa, Joao Almeida and Richard Carapaz in 2020.

From Burgos in the north, the race moves to the south and southeastern coastal provinces, via Extremadura for the first time in eight years before heading back north for a grand finale in Cantabria, Asturias and pilgrim’s city of Santiago de Compostela. The course includes more of Spain than the previous year when the Vuelta was centred in the north and the northwest of the country only.  

“The world is going through a very tough time right now, and this is being particularly felt in our country. For this reason, we wished to design a different kind of race”, said Javier Guillén, General Director of La Vuelta. “It is an ambitious Vuelta, that will cover many kilometres, but will stay only within Spain. We want to showcase our country: its beauty and its potential as a tourism world leader. We will be present in many territories, with a huge variety of terrains and unprecedented locations, while also visiting some of the country’s largest tourist centres. This is our way of entertaining people and of promoting tourism as we await a gradual return to normality.”

The race includes three climbs of the highest category: Alto de Velefique on stage 10 and a duo of mountain top finishes in the final week with the Lagos de Covadonga and the Alto d’El Gamoniteiru. The 33,7-kilometre-long time trial on 5 September, the final day of the race breaks with the tradition of finishing the Vuelta on the Plaza de Cibeles in downtown Madrid.

The 2020 Vuelta a España was a tight battle between Primoz Roglic, Richard Carapaz and Hugh Carthy. The Slovenian eventually held off the attack by Richard Carapaz in the final mountain stage to Alto de la Covatilla and won his second consecutive Vuelta with only 24 seconds to spare.

2021 Vuelta a España route


Stage 1: Saturday August 14 – Burgos – Burgos (ITT), 8km
Stage 2: Sunday August 15 – Calaruega – Burgos, 169.5km
Stage 3: Monday August 16 – Santo Domingo de Silos – Picón Blanco, 203km
Stage 4: Tuesday August 17 – El Burgo de Osma – Molina de Aragón, 163.6km
Stage 5: Wednesday August 18 – Tarancon – Albacete, 184.4km
Stage 6: Thursday August 19 – Requena – Alto de Cullera, 159km
Stage 7: Friday August 20 – Gandia – Puerto de Tibi, 152km
Stage 8: Saturday August 21 – Santa Pola – La Manga del Mar Menor, 163.3km
Stage 9: Sunday August 22 – Puerto Lumbreras – Velefique, 187km
Rest Day 1: Monday August 23
Stage 10: Tuesday August 24 – Roquetas de Mar – Rincon de la Victoria, 190.2km
Stage 11: Wednesday August 25 – Antequera – Valdepeñas de Jaén, 131km
Stage 12: Thursday August 26 – Jaén – Cordoba, 166.7km
Stage 13: Friday August 27 – Belmez – Villanueva de la Sierra, 197.2km
Stage 14: Saturday August 28 – Don Benito – Pico de Villuercas, 159.7km
Stage 15: Sunday August 29 – Navalmoral de la Mata – El Barraco, 193.4km
Rest Day 2: Monday August 30
Stage 16: Tuesday August 31 – Laredo – Santa Cruz de Bezana, 170.8km
Stage 17: Wednesday September 1 – Unquera – Lagos de Covadonga, 181.6km
Stage 18: Thursday September 2 – Salas – Alto de Gamoniteiru, 159.2km
Stage 19: Friday September 3 – Tapia – Monforte de Lemos, 187.8km
Stage 20: Saturday September 4 – Sanxenxo – Mos, 173km
Stage 21: Sunday September 5 – Padrón – Santiago de Compostela (ITT), 33.7km

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