La Vuelta or the Tour of Spain race, the biggest cycling competition in Spain, will see its 70st anniversary this year. Marbella has been given the honour of firing the starting gun on this special occasion. On the 22nd of August, dozens of cyclists will set off from the famous harbour of Puerto Banús to conquer mountains, hills and countryside to win this tough race around Spain.
It was revealed last Saturday that after having set off with a team time trial in Puerto Banús, the race will stay in Andalusian territory for another three stages. Residents can cheer on their favourite cyclists as La Vuelta takes them to not only Puerto Banús and Marbella, but also nearby towns such as Mijas and Estepona. The cyclists also have to conquer two short but tricky ascents at Caminito del Rey and Vejer on stages two and four. The hardest ascent of the starting week is said to be in Capilleira, where narrow, twisting and rough roads in the Alpujarras mountains south of Granada will make things difficult for the cyclists. The warm Andalusian weather will also play its part, making for a challenging start for the Tour of Spain race.
La Vuelta is the youngest competition out of the three most prestigious tours in the cycling world, following the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia closely. Its route changes yearly, but its format remains roughly the same. Traditionally there are two time trials, a passage through the mountains which this year includes Andorra for the first time, and – after a break from this tradition last year – a finish in Madrid, the capital of Spain. The cyclists must complete 21 day-long stages over a time frame of 23 days, including two rest days.
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Cover image by Matt Popovich