MADRID – The Tour of Spain will present riders with another mountainous challenge in 2019 after organisers announced next year's route on Wednesday.
“La Vuelta”, which represents one of cycling's three grand tours, will begin in the town of Torrevieja, near Alicante, on August 24 and finish in Madrid on September 15, with 3,272 kilometres (2033 miles) of racing in between.
Riders will have to negotiate 59 climbs in total, 13 more than in this year's race, which was won by Britain's Simon Yates.
It was Yates' first Grand Tour victory, with Spain's Enric Mas coming second and Colombia's Miguel Angel Lopez finishing third.
The event next year will also start in the form of a team time-trial, on a flat 18-kilometre opening stage.
A mountainous second stage then follows from Benidorm to Calpe before the fifth stage heads to Teruel and the climb of Pico del Buitre, featuring an 11.8-kilometre ascent.
An individual time trial will commence through France at stage 10 while stage 16 will also favour the sprinters, a flat 155-kilometre stretch between Pravia and Alto de la Cubilla.
The race culminates on September 15 with a 105.6-kilometre 21st stage between Fuenlabrada and Madrid.
Organisers also confirmed the Tour of Spain will begin in Utrecht in 2020, a first return to Holland since 2009, when its route began in Assen.
Utrecht will become the first city to have hosted all three major races, having formed part of the Tour de France in 2015 and the Giro d'Italia in 2010.
“The Dutch city and province of Utrecht and its neighbor of North Brabant will host the official departure of La Vuelta 2020,” read a statement released by the Tour of Spain.
It will be only the fourth time the event has started outside Spain, following Lisbon in 1997, Assen in 2009 and Nimes last year.
Director general of the race, Javier Guillen, said the choice of Utrecht reflected “the passion felt by Dutch people for cycling”.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)