Madrid finish returns for 70th Tour of Spain

The 70th edition of the Tour of Spain will see the race return to Madrid on its 80th anniversary after a break from tradition to finish in Santiago de Compostela in 2014.

Madrid finish returns for 70th Tour of Spain
The pack ride during the last stage of the 68th edition of "La Vuelta" Tour of Spain, a 109,6 kilometres ride from Leganes to Madrid in 2012. Photo: AFP

One of cycling's three grand tours, the gruelling 21-stage race will start with a 7.4 kilometre team time-trial in Marbella on Saturday, August 22 and finish with a parade around the centre of the Spanish capital on September 13.

As usual the organizers have crammed in a number of mountain-top finishes with nine such stages making their appearance in the race for the first time. The most demanding of all will come in the 138km, 11th stage in Andorra which will encompass six steep climbs.

Click here to see the Local's gallery of Spain's best bike rides 

As well as the team time-trial to get the event started on the first Saturday, there is also a 39km individual time trial through Burgos on the 17th stage. A final mountain finish awaits the riders on the outskirts of Madrid in Cercedilla on the penultimate stage before the traditional parade through the boulevards of the capital on the final Sunday.

"It is a Vuelta like the previous ones, it is very demanding and has explosive finishes," said Valverde, who has finished on the podium for the past three years. "Without doubt, it will be a very nice race to watch for the spectators. Those of us who will be fighting for the general classification will need to be very aware every day."

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VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021

Demand for bicycles has soared in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic, but conversely the global supply is at record low levels, with consumers having to wait months or over a year for their bike of choice.

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021
Photo: Stocksnap/Pixabay

Bikes are projected to outsell cars in Europe by two to one by 2030.   

But 2021 will not be an easy year to buy a bike in many European countries, especially if you have a particular model in mind. 

Firstly, there's been a huge surge in demand for bikes during the pandemic, as Europeans looked for ways to stay fit and move around more freely without having to worry about being exposed to Covid-19 on public transport.

On the flip side, bike production in China, which supplies almost the entire global market, has practically ground to a halt.

The same can be said for bicycle accessories and components, which are either not being produced in Chinese factories currently or held up for months in ports in Asia due to the reduction of capacity in shipping.


In this short report, video producer Alex Dunham explores the issue of Europe's bike shortage in 2021.