In line with tradition the 2017 Vuelta a España begins with a team time trial. Start and finish of stage 1 are in the French city Nîmes and the distance will be 13.8 kilometres – that’s much shorter than in 2016, when the TTT was almost 28 kilometres. The 2nd stage is played out in France also – arrival in Gruissan – before the riders cross the Pyrenees in stage 3, that will see a mountainous race and a downhill finish in Andorra. Then stage 4 travels on flat to rolling roads through Catalonia to a finish on the Mediterranean coast.
Stage 5 leads to a summit finish near Ermita Santa Lucia in Alcossebre, while stage 6 goes to Sagunto, a place near Valencia. In the 7th stage the riders travel to a cobbled finale in Cuenca before stage 8 brings a finish at Xorret del Cati after a 4 kilometres climb with steepest ramps at 22% followed by a short drop. Stage 9 goes to the steep Alto de Puig Llorença in Cumbre del Sol, where Tom Dumoulin bested Chris Froome in 2015.
The first rest day of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana is on Monday 28 August. The second rest day is one week later, on 4 September.
After giving the hot south a cold shoulder in 2016, the 2017 Vuelta a Espana is bound to visit Andalucia in the second week. Stage 10 takes in a 21 kilometres climb with 30 kilometres left to finish in Alhama de Murcia, while stage 11 leads from Lorca to Calar Alto at 2,155 metres above sea level. In stage 12 the riders reach Andalucian soil with a start on the Costa Tropical and a finish in Antequera before stage 13 goes from Coín to a flat arrival in Tomares. It’s climbers alert again in stage 14, travelling to a summit finish at La Pandera after a 13.3 kilometres climb at 6.8%. Stage 15 leaves from Alcalá la Real to arrive in the Sierra Nevada for a summit finish at Alto Hoya de la Mora, accounting for a 28 kilometres closing climb.
At 42 kilometres, an individual time trial is the first challenge in the last week. The starting ramp is installed on the Circuito de Navarra near Los Arcos and the finish is in Logroño, where John Degenkolb sprinted to victory in 2012 and in 2014. Then Cantabria should be up for some spectacle. Los Machucos, aka Collado de la Espina, brings its steepest sections of 28% to the table in stage 17, while stage 18 travels from Suances to the monastery of Santo Toribio. The 19th stage takes the pack from the Redes Natural Park in Asturias to Gijón.
In the 20th stage the feared and revered Angliru will make its come back after a last appearance in the 2013 Vuelta, when Kenny Elissonde climbed to victory and Chris Horner cemented his overall lead – ultimately leading to winning that edition -, despite tireless atacks by Nibali. The Alto de El Angliru is a 12.5 kilometres torture at 10.1%. The steepest part at 23.6% goes by the significant name Cueña les Cabres, or goat path. This is 3 kilometres before the top.
The 2017 Vuelta a España is set to close with an evening stage to Madrid.
Vuelta a España 2017: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Videos La Vuelta
Stage 9: Final climb Cumbre del Sol
Stappe 20: Final climb Angliru
Video: highlights 2016