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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Vuelta a Espana - La Vuelta 2012 route announced

The route of the 67th edition of La Vuelta has been presented in Navarre, with 21 gruelling stages awaiting the riders.

The tour will begin with a team time-trial in Pamplona, Navarre and continue into the Basque Country, La Rioja, Aragon, Catalonia and Galicia. Later, the tour will move to Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla Leon, before the final stages in Madrid.

The Vuelta kicks off on August 18 with a 16.2 km team time trial in Pamplona along some of the streets used for the city's famous 'bull-runs'.

The first of seven mountain-top finishes comes on stage three to the Monte Arrate in the Basque Country, with a brief incursion into the Pyrenees of Andorra on stage eight.

Following a rare visit to Barcelona and a lengthy 1,200 km transfer to Galicia, the second week's hilly 42 km individual time trial and three summit finishes in northern Spain in as many days will likely decide the race overall.

Stage 18's dauntingly steep climb to the infamous Covadonga Lakes, home to some of western Europe's last wolves, is followed by an unprecedented 23-km ascent to Cuitu Negro in the Picos de Europa mountain range on stage 19.

The race's final showdown is a repeat of 2010's ascent along three kilometres of rough cement track to the Bola del Mundo summit finish, close to Madrid.

Samuel Sanchez was among the riders at the presentation, and he said: "My principal targets this season are the Tour de France and the Olympic Games. My favourite for winning La Vuelta is Joaquim Rodriguez"

Meanwhile, Denis Menchov said: "The Tour de France is my objective, but I think I will ride in La Vuelta. We have not got any problem with Joaquim (Rodriguez) for the leadership within Katusha."


Saturday 18 August - Step 1: Pamplona - Pamplona, ​​Team time (16 km)

Sunday 19 August - Stage 2: Pamplona - Viana (180 km)

Monday August 20 - Stage 3 - Oion - Arrate (Eibar) - Final high (153 km)

Tuesday August 21 - Step 4: Baracaldo - Valdezcaray - Final high - (155 km)

Wednesday 22 August - Step 5: Logrono - Logrono (172 km)

Thursday August 22 - Step 6: Zaragoza (Tarazona) - The Fort Rapitan (Jaca) (Final up) (174 km)

Friday 23 August - Step 7: Jaca - Motorland (Alcaniz) (160 km)

Saturday 25 August - Step 8: Lleida - Sanctuary Canolich (Coll de la Gallina) - Final high (175 km)

Sunday August 26 - Stage 9 - Andorra - Barcelona (194 km)

Monday August 27 - Rest

Tuesday August 28 - Stage 10: Ponteareas - Sanxenxo

Wednesday 29 August - Stage 11: Cambados - Pontevedra, Individual time trial

Thursday August 30 - Stage 12: Vilagarcia - Mirador de Ezaro (La Coruna)

Friday 31 August - Step 12: Santiago de Compostela - Ferrol

Saturday 1 September - Step 14: Lugo - The Ancares - Final high

Sunday 2 September - Stage 15: The Oak - Lagos de Covadonga - Final high

Monday 3 septiemre - Step 16: Gijon (Villa de Jovellanos) - Black Cuitu - Final high

Tuesday 4 September - Rest day

Wednesday 5 September - Step 17: Santander - Power

Thursday 6 September - Step 18: Aguilar de Campo - Valladolid

Friday 7 September - Stage 19: Penafiel - The Lastrilla

Saturday 8 September - Stage 20: The Faisanera Golf - Bola del Mundo - Final high

Sunday 9 September - Stage 21: Cercedilla - Madrid
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