No Angliru on 2005 Vuelta route

Spanish paper Marca has upstaged the organisers of the Vuelta by leaking details of next year's race

Spanish paper Marca has upstaged the organisers of the Vuelta by leaking details of next year’s race

PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Spanish sports daily Marca has, as it tends to do most years, leaked the route of the 2005 Vuelta a Espa¤a just days before the official presentation of the race is due to take place in Madrid. Apart from a change in dates, with the race brought forward by a week now that it has been confirmed as part of next season’s ProTour circuit, the big news is the absence once again of the Angliru climb in Spain’s north-west. Loved by fans but hated by just about every rider who is forced up it, the Angliru has not featured in the Vuelta since 2002, when David Millar famously quit right before the line at the finish after crashing twice. Even the stage winner that wet and misty day on the mountain boasting sections of 25 per cent, Roberto Heras, has admitted to having no affection for the Angliru. That one climb may be missing, but there is still plenty to please defending champion Heras and the other mountain men, with no less than six summit finishes. After the Pyrenees were missed this year, the race returns there in 2005, with summit finishes at Arcalis and Cerler. Rather than the usual team time trial, the 2005 race begins with a Tour de France-style prologue through the streets of Granada and, according to Marca, finishing on the steep climb up the Moorish city’s Alhambra palace. The race then moves north into La Mancha to pay homage on the 400th anniversary of the publication of Cervantes’ novel ‘Don Quijote’. The first summit finish at the Valdelinares resort near Teruel should give an initial idea of the likely contenders for overall victory. Then come three crucial days, starting with a long time trial in Barcelona that finishes in that city’s renowned Camp Nou stadium. The two Pyrenean summits come on the two following days, with a much-needed rest day following them. There is no halt to the climbing after the rest day as the race moves across northern Spain. From Burgos the riders will climb to the La Bien Aperecida sanctuary, the following day they start in world champion Oscar Freire’s hometown of Torrelavega and head for the famous summit at Lagos de Covadonga. And race organisers Unipublic have thrown in another summit finish the next day for good measure at Valgrande Pajares, which is Angliru country. No surprise that there is another rest day at this point. Although the summit finishes are out of the way, there is still plenty of climbing to come, notably on the stages around two-time Vuelta winner Pedro Delgado’s hometown of Segovia and on the following stages into and out of Avila. The first of these starts in four-time Vuelta King of the Mountains Jos Maria Jimenez’s hometown of El Barraco, allowing the race to pay homage to the charismatic climber who died last December. If there are any time trial specialists left by this point, they get another chance to shine on the penultimate day, before the traditional finish in Madrid. The stages: August 27, Stage 1: Granada-Granada TT August 28, Stage 2: Granada-Cordoba August 29, Stage 3: Cordoba-Puertollano August 30, Stage 4: Ciudad Real-Argamasilla de Alba August 31, Stage 5: Alcazar de San Juan-Cuenca September 1, Stage 6: Cuenca-Valdelinares September 2, Stage 7: Teruel-Vinaroz September 3, Stage 8: Tarragona-Rubi September 4, Stage 9: Barcelona-Camp Nou TT September 5, Stage 10: Sabadell-Ordino Arcalis (Andorra) September 6, Stage 11: Andorra-Cerler September 7: Rest Day September 8, Stage 12: Logro¤o-Burgos September 9, Stage 13: Burgos-La Bien Aparecida September 10, Stage 14: Torrelavega-Lagos de Covadonga September 11, Stage 15: Cangas de Onis-Valgrande Pajares September 12: Rest Day September 13, Stage 16: Leon-Valladolid September 14, Stage 17: Segovia-Segovia September 15, Stage 18: El Barraco-Avila September 16, Stage 19: Avila-Alcobendas September 17, Stage 20: Guadalajara-Alcala de Henares TT September 18, Stage 21: Madrid-Madrid