Madrid finish returns for 70th Tour of Spain

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
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.

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.

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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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