Vuelta to stick to start date and route, says director

Madrid (AFP) –


This year's Vuelta a Espana is still set to go ahead as planned with all 21 stages despite the coronavirus pandemic's devastating impact on Spain, the race's director said on Thursday.

"As it stands today the Vuelta's dates stay as they are and we not considering a race of less than the scheduled 21 stages," Javier Guillen told sports daily AS.

It had been rumoured that the Vuelta, one of cycling's three Grand Tours and is scheduled to start on August 14 in the Netherlands, could reduce the number of stages if the Tour de France is delayed, in order to make room for the postponed Giro d'Italia which as yet has no new start date.

"All this is mere speculation that has come out of Italy ... we know that it's difficult to combine races with established dates with others that need to be reorganised, so should know that we will have to be flexible should a change of dates materialise," Guillen added.

However Guillen insisted that the priority was ensuring that the Tour de France, which is still scheduled to start on June 27, is run as "it's an indispensible event for our sport".

The COVID-19 death toll in Spain topped 10,000 on Thursday, making it the second worst-hit nation behind Italy.