This year’s Vuelta a España route has been unveiled today and thus confirmed that once again organizers will keep on with the same “successful” pattern of the last editions. I say successful as every year since the race director, Javier Guilllem, took charge the overall classification has been tight until the end, keeping the emotion and the attention of supporters until the very final of the race.
However, many cycling fanatics do not agree with the directors point of view about the race, that makes the route in order to avoid big differences between the leaders, and making the peloton face many consecutive uphill stage finals in which just few seconds can be scrapped in the GC fight. Last year where 12 uphill finishes and in 2014 there will be 8. Too much, taking into account that there will only be one long time trial, of no more than 34 kilometers and last day’s 10 kilometers individual sprint, that will hardly decide anything important. So once again time trial specialist will be far from Spain when the third Great Race is being held.
Curiously, this is the kind of route that most benefits Spanish riders “Purito” Rodríguez and Alejandro Valverde that although every year La Vuelta makes a perfect route for them, they have not step on the first place of the podium since the race assumed this pattern.
The race is unbalanced in other aspects. Most of the stages will take place in Andalucia (southern Spain), where at the end of August riders will suffer an extreme heat of more than 35 degree. And there will be 5 more stages in Galicia (northern Spain), making the route map a bit ridiculous as stages will be only held in the south and in the north, avoiding the rest of the country, including the capital city Madrid, for the first since 1993.
The Vuelta will include other of Guillem’s main trend, very steep climb to attract spectators. This year’s will be San Miguel de Aralar, a climb with cement pavement that as formerly did Angliru or Cuitu Negro, will take riders into a narrow climb and test their ability to keep their balance up on the bike. Team cars and motorbike will have to struggle not to be stood up and provoke a jam.
Trying to create an spectacular race organizers have end up turning the race into a boring one, as every year the race is quite similar, sprinters and time trial specialist avoid the race because they have no opportunities and always the same kind of riders fight for the red jersey. Organizers have much too learn from Tour and Giro.