Here's what could be on the cards for the Vuelta a España 2017 route

Planning for the 2017 Vuelta a España route is already underway just days after Nairo Quintana (Movistar) beat Chris Froome (Team Sky) to win the 2016 title in Madrid. Organiser Unipublic is planning a trip through the Pyrenees and a return to the steep Angliru finish, say local sources.

In the opening week of the 2016 Vuelta, race director Javier Guillén confirmed the long-rumoured start over the French boarder in Nîmes. The race will get rolling on August 19 with a team time trial as it has done for the last seven years.

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This year when the race started near Ourense, in Galicia, Team Sky won and put Pete Kennaugh in the race leader’s red jersey.

After the Vuelta leaves the ancient Roman Empire outpost and the city’s famous bullfighting arena, its route is largely unknown. It should cover around 3500 kilometres and loop around Spain before its finish in Madrid.

Locals in Riosa, in Spain’s northern Principality of Asturias, are already saying that the Vuelta will return to its famous Alto de L’Angliru.

Mayor Ana Diaz told La Nueva España: “We plan to meet with the organisation of the Vuelta to start negotiations and try to Angliru stage a reality in the 2017 race.”

The 12.2km climb averages 10.2% and reaches 23.5%. It’s been a popular, but controversial, stomping ground for the Vuelta a España over the last 15 years.

In 2002, riders and teams protested due to the conditions made worst by heavy rain. David Millar stopped ahead of the line and handed over his race number.

3 September 2016 71st Vuelta a Espana Stage 14 : Urdax-Dantxarinea - Aubisque QUINTANA Nairo Alexander (COL) Movistar, Leader of the General Classification FROOME Christopher (GBR) Sky, at Col d'Aubisque Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA

QUINTANA Nairo Alexander (COL) Movistar, FROOME Christopher (GBR) Sky, at Col d’Aubisque
Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA

When the Vuelta last visited in 2013, it did so without a hitch. Frenchman Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) won and said, “It’s one of the hardest climbs in the mountains.”

Unipublic is said to be using the climb for the race’s final mountain scene. As with this year after Froome tried to upset Quintana on the Aitana summit finish, the next day, a Sunday, the race should finish in Madrid.

As in recent years, the Vuelta a España should be climb heavy. Following the start in Nîmes, the tour should spend another two days travelling along the flats towards the Pyrenees and the Spanish border.

The organiser could select from a rich menu of summit finishes: Pla de Beret, La Pierre Saint-Martin, Cauterets, Andorra-Arcalís or Formigal, the stage that Quintana used to take 2-43 minutes from Froome.

Like 2003, the route would likely transfer south and spend a rest day, perhaps in the Andalucía region, before restarting.

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Already kicked around for the 2016 route, the organiser may visit the Pico de Veleta, which tops out at 3300 metres and is the highest paved road in Europe.

The problem with the area in the Sierra Nevada mountains, southeast of Granada, is the lack of space for the Vuelta’s caravan. Instead, it could climb to IRAM Pico Veleta Observatory at 2845 meters, where there is plenty of space near the 30-metre telescope.

If not already in the first week, the organiser could insert a long time trial stage in the south. This would offer a transition and likely shift the race in favour of riders like Froome, before the Vuelta travels north and tackles the rest of its mountains culminating with the Angliru.

Vuelta a España 2016 route

The Vuelta a España featured 10 summit finishes over its three weeks from Ourense to Madrid, running from August 20 to September 11.

With the brutal, however, came the sane – the race stayed in Spain’s north and limited the transfers between its 21 stages.

Vuelta a Espana 2016 route

Vuelta a Espana 2016 route map

Mas de la Costa, in the Valencian Community, follows the rest day and averages 15% for four kilometres, kicking to 22% at times.

Mirador de Ézaro (stage three) and La Camperona (stage eight) shoot towards the sky quicker. Mirador de Ézaro’s ramps of 29%, averaging 13.1 over 2km, saw some riders dismount and walk in the fourth stage of 2013. La Camperona, 7.5% over 8.3km, reaches 24%.

The 10 summit finishes of 2016: Ézaro (stage 3), San Andrés de Teixido (4), La Camperona (8), Naranco (9), Lagos (10), Peña Cabarga (11), Col d’Aubisque (14), Formigal (15), Mas de Costa (17) and Alto de Aitana (20).

Unipublic will go easy on the 22 teams after hearing complaints in 2015 of long transfers between stages and on rest days. Instead of visiting the entire Iberian Peninsula, director Javier Guillen limited the journey to Spain’s north, and by doing so created a compact route that eases stress and lowers petrol consumption. The furthest south the peloton will race is the Aitana climb at the end of stage 20.

A 29.4km team time trial will start the race on August 20 and in the third week, on the Friday before Aitana and the Sunday sprint finish in Madrid, a long individual time trial will sort the classification. The riders will tackle a 39km route along the windy coast from Jávea to Calpe.

Three-time Vuelta a España winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) – who looks set to race after a disappointing Tour de France from which he was forced to abandon with illness – gave a measured verdict on the route when it was revealed, saying: “2016 will be the toughest year to reach the Vuelta in good form. After the Tour, it will be very tough to rest because of the Olympic Games.

“It will be much more difficult, compared to previous years, to fully recover in order to start the Vuelta in top shape.

“This year’s parcours has many explosive finishes that aren’t ideal for me, in particular due to the bonus seconds.”


Key info: Start list | Contenders | Live TV guide | Vuelta videos | Brits in the Tours

Previous editions: 2015 Vuelta | 2014 Vuelta


Vuelta a España 2016 route

Stage 1: Saturday August 20, Laias do Miño (Ourense), team time trial, 29.4km

>>> Full stage one report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 1 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 1 profile

The opening stage of the 2016 Vuelta a España is a team time trial covering 29.4km in Ourense in the north west Spain. With such a tough three weeks ahead of the riders, don’t expect to see the final GC decided here but do look at for signs of riders’ form.

Stage 2: Sunday August 21, Ourense – Baiona, 159km

>>> Full stage two report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 2 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 2 profile

Stage two takes riders to the coast at Baiona. The third category climb should come early enough for anyone who’s been dropped to get back on before the finish. If this profile featured later in the race it could have been one for a breakaway, but so early on the GC teams will aim to control everything and keep an eye on each other.

Stage 3: Monday August 22, Marin – Mirador de Ézaro (summit), 170km

>>> Full stage three report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 3 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 3 profile

It’s only the third stage and already the riders are faced with a summit finish. It may only be a third category climb but it’s short and brutally steep: start too far back and a GC rider could get caught behind the bunch when it comes to a near standstill.

Stage 4: Tuesday August 23, Betanzos – S.A de Teixido (Cedeira) (summit), 161km

>>> Full stage four report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 4 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 4 profile

Another summit finish and already those with overall aspirations might be forced to switch their focus to stage wins. By now any big name sprinters who fancied three weeks pedalling round Spain might be reconsidering their decision.

Stage 5: Wednesday August 24, Viveiro – Lugo, 170km

>>> Full stage five report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 5 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 5 profile

As the riders head back in land and towards Lugo, the majority of the altitude gain comes early enough for it to be all together by the finish line. However, a strong enough attack from a big enough group on the day’s only categorised climb could see the break staying away.

Stage 6: Thursday August 25, Monforte – Lunitra (Ribera Sacra), 163km

>>> Full stage six report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 6 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 6 profile

With an intermediate sprint positioned on a climb and at the second highest point of the stage, the Vuelta a España’s organisers have shown their intent for this year’s race.

If the preceding days have seen riders lose enough time then the GC teams might relax a bit and let an unthreatening breakaway have the glory.

Stage 7: Friday August 26, Maceda – Puebla de Sanabria, 158.3km

>>> Full stage seven report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 7 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 7 profile

The Vuelta doesn’t really do transitional stages or long transfers, and this stage will finish once again in sight of Portugal’s northern border. A lumpy day that is gaining height for much of the ride until the flowing descent to the end, it could be a stressful time for domestiques.

Stage 8: Saturday August 27, Villalpando – La Camperona (summit), 177km

>>> Full stage eight report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 8 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 8 profile

So very nearly a flat stage, even coming with a sprint at the end of the long drag. But then there’s a first category summit finish to contend with. This is one of the slightly longer stages on this year’s route as the riders cover 177km to La Camperona.

Stage 9: Sunday August 28, Cistierna – Naranco (Oviedo) (summit), 165km

>>> Full stage nine report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 9 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 9 profile

Another summit finish, but not to the highest point on the stage. The second category climb to Naranco is almost 1000 metres nearer to sea level that than Puerto de San Isidiro which comes much earlier in the stage. The saw tooth profile of the last 55km could see someone like Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) going for a long ranger.

Stage 10: Monday August 29, Lugones – Lagos de Covadonga (summit), 188.7km

>>> Full stage 10 report

Vuelta a España 2016 stage 10 profile

Vuelta a España 2016 stage 10 profile

A beyond category climb immediately before a rest day has got GC ding dong battle written all over it. It also brings forward the Grand Tour cliché: the race may not be won here, but it most certainly could be lost.

With 10 stages done and a rest day to get through without getting ill or having a mishap, a time cushion over the rest of the GC will be very favourable for anyone with overall aspirations.

Rest day, Tuesday August 30

Stage 11: Wednesday August 31, Colunga. Museo Jurásico – Peña Cabarga (summit), 168.6km

>>> Full stage 11 report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 11 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 11 profile

That’s one hell of a sting in the tail. Flat or rolling for 160km before a near 9km climb up to a first category summit finish. The key factor here will be in what condition riders come out of the rest day; with the difference between riders often laid bare the day after.

Stage 12: Thursday September 1, Corrales de Buelna – Bilbao, 193.2km

>>> Full stage 12 report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 12 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 12 profile

A lumpy day with a descent into a flat finish in Bilbao, the capital of the Basque Country. There should be plenty of Basque riders in the race so this could be a day for one of them to attack over the final second category climb and attempt to hold off the chasers all the way to the finish line.

Stage 13: Friday September 2, Bilbao – Urdax (Navarra), 212.8km

>>> Full stage 13 report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 13 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 13 profile

A couple of short trips into France are the points of interest on stage 13. Who knows what the race situation will be by this point, but this one looks like a breakaway win.

Stage 14: Saturday September 3, Urdax – Aubisque (France) (summit), 195.6km

>>> Full stage 14 report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 14 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 14 profile

Other than the start and the first three kilometres or so, this stage takes place across the border in France before a beyond category summit finish atop the Col d’Aubisque.

A tough day with three other  – all first category – climbs, GC teams will be burning riders all day to stay in contention.

Stage 15: Sunday September 4, Sabiñanigo – Formigal (summit), 120km

>>> Full stage 15 report

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 15 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 15 profile

A much shorter stage and another summit finish point to explosive and attacking racing from the flag. A long range attack from the intermediate sprint point all the way to the finish line would make for great viewing, so here’s hoping.

Stage 16: Monday September 5, Alcañiz – Peñicola, 158km

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 16 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 16 profile

After several brutal stages and a rest day to look forward to this will probably be one for an escape group while the GC team domestiques nurse their leaders, and themselves, to the finish line in Peñicola.

Rest day, Tuesday September 6

Stage 17: Wednesday September 7, Castellón – Mas de la Costa (summit), 173.3km

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 17 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 17 profile

It’s the rest day-summit finish sequence again. Someone could have what looks like an unassailable lead in the GC by now, but just one bad day on a finish like this and it could all change.

Stage 18: Thursday September 8, Requena – Gandia, 191km

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 18 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 18 profile

The follow day’s time trial will probably cause a cagey display from the GC riders, and with others running out of time to do anything in the Vuelta this will probably be a day for the break.

Stage 19: Friday September 9, Jávea – Calpe, individual time trial, 39km

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 19 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 19 profile

Well under an hour’s effort and with very little climbing to speak of – particularly by Vuelta standards, riders like Froome and Contador will benefit from a time trial like this while we’d expect the likes of Quintana to suffer.

A change in the overall leadership as a result of the time trial would be a great thing for fans as it would add to the likelihood of an aggressive final summit finish the next day.

Stage 20: Saturday September 10, Benidorm – Alto de Aitana (summit), 184km

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 20 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 20 profile

With any luck the overall general classification will still be close enough for the final summit finish to matter. Stage 20 last year saw Astana go to work on race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), the result being an overall win for Fabio Aru and Dumoulin’s drop to sixth – so it should still be all to play for.

The last chance for others to get a Grand Tour stage win in 2016 will also play its part in the formation of any breakaways and the ferocity with which the GC teams chase them down.

Stage 21: Sunday September 11, Las Rozas – Madrid, 102.5km

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 21 profile

Vuelta a España 2016, stage 21 profile

Just like the Tour de France‘s visit to the Champs-Élysées, the final stage of the Vuelta a España is a processional affair into Madrid.

If there are any sprinters left, now is their time to get something out of this year’s race, but it could be a good day for a less out-and-out sprinter who has coped well enough in the mountains.

3,277.3km in total

Vuelta a España 2015 route

The Vuelta a Espana 2015 will mark the 70th edition of the Spanish Grand Tour with the inclusion of nine new summit finishes.

This year’s race will include a long flat time trial, something that the organiser Javier Guillén knew would appeal to Tour de France champion Chris Froome. With Froome’s inclusion in the race now confirmed, Guillén described it as ‘the icing on the cake’.

Organiser Unipublic presented the route on Saturday, January 10, in Málaga, just down the road from where the race will begin on August 22.

>>> Vuelta a España 2015 start list

Vuelta Director Javier Guillén promised Froome a long and flat time trial after he lost the 2014 edition to Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) by 70 seconds.

Froome, according to Guillén, was frustrated by the 36.7-kilometre time trial to Borja. It included a category three climb to 1000 metres and saw Froome concede 53 seconds to Contador.

The time trial may not matter with nine summit finishes. One stage will take place completely in neighbouring Andorra, covering only 138 kilometres but climbing 5230 metres.

Unipublic made a difficult and bold move to celebrate its 80th year. It would have had to find new towns willing to put up money to host stage finishes while ignoring fans who celebrate the known and famous climbs like Lagos de Covadonga and L’Angliru.

In the modern age, Grand Tours often revisit summit finishes. The 2015 Giro d’Italia climbed to Sestriere and the Tour de France finished at the Alpe d’Huez ski resort for the 29th time.

The Vuelta, however, will cover new ground every time it finishes uphill: Caminito del Rey (stage 2), Vejer de la Frontera (4), Cazorla (6), Capileira (7), Cumbre del Sol (9), Cortals d’Encamp (11), Fuente del Chivo (14), Sotres (15) and Ermita del Alba (16). The favourites will have to be on their toes because four of the nine finishes come in the race’s opening week.

The course crosses through Andalucía, Murcia and Valencia before transferring north to Andorra for its first rest day. It then skips around northern Spain and finish with a circuit race in the country’s capital of Madrid.

Defending champion Contador will not race in the Vuelta a España this year, having won the Giro d’Italia in May and finished fifth in the Tour de France in July.

Vuelta a España 2015 route

Vuelta a Espana 2015 route map

Vuelta a Espana 2015 route map

Vuelta a España 2015: Stages

Stage 1, August 22, Puerto Banús to Marbella, 7.4km TTT

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 1 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 1 profile

Stage 2, August 23, Alhaurín de la Torre to Caminito del Rey (summit), 158.7km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 2 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 2 profile

Stage 3, August 24, Mijas to Málaga, 158.4km

Vuelta-a-Espana-2015-profil3

Stage 4, August 25, Estepona to Vejer de la Frontera (summit), 213.6km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 4 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 4 profile

Stage 5, August 26, Rota to Alcalá de Guadaira, 167.3km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 5 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 5 profile

Stage 6, August 27, Córdoba to Sierra de Cazorla (summit), 200.3km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 6 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 6 profile

Stage 7, August 28, Jódar to La Alpujarra (summit), 191.1km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 7 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 7 profile

Stage 8, August 29, Puebla de Don Fadrique to Murcia, 182.5km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 8 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 8 profile

Stage 9, August 30, Torrevieja-Cumbre del Sol. Benitachell (summit), 1683.km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 9 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 9 profile

Stage 10, August 31, Valencia-Castellón, 146.6km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 10 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 10 profile

September 1, rest day in Andorra

Stage 11, September 2, Andorra la Vella to Cortals d´Encamp (summit), 138km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 11 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 11 profile

Stage 12, September 3, Escaldes-Engordany. Andorra to Lleida, 173km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 12 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 12 profile

Stage 13, September 4, Calatayud to Tarazona, 177km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 13 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 13 profile

Stage 14, September 5, Vitoria to Fuente del Chivo (summit), 215km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 14 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 14 profile

Stage 15, September 6, Comillas to Sotres (summit), 175.8km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 15 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 15 profile

Stage 16, September 7, Luarca to Ermita del Alba (summit), 185km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 16 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 16 profile

September 8, rest day in Burgos

Stage 17, September 9, Burgos to Burgos. 38.7km ITT

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 17 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 17 profile

Stage 18, September 10 , Roa to Riaza, 204km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 18 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 18 profile

Stage 19, September 11, Medina del Campo to Ávila, 185.5km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 19 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 19 profile

Stage 20, September 12, San Lorenzo de El Escorial to Cercedilla, 175.8km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 20 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 20 profile

Stage 21, September 13, Alcalá de Henares to Madrid, 97.8km

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 21 profile

Vuelta a Espana 2015 stage 21 profile

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Vuelta a España 2016 route
  3. 3. Vuelta a España 2015 route
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