Defending champion Simon Yates part of 2019 La Vuelta launch

Wed 19 Dec 2018

The 2019 La Vuelta a España route was announced this evening at the official race presentation in Alicante where defending champion Simon Yates was amongst the attendees.

The course looks to be as tough as ever with an 18km city centre team time trial to start, eight mountain top finishes and a challenging 4km gravel road section during a hard stage in Andorra. 

Although race program decisions for the second half of the season will not be made until after the Giro d’Italia, the 2018 winner was excited to see the demanding nature of the course. 

Here’s what he had to say:

S.Yates - “There’s some spectacular summit finishes, some that I know already and it looks really difficult.

"I think in general the route looks good, with a team time trial at the start we have a really good strong team there and also the stage to Andorra I know the roads really well, which we saw this year. 

“With the individual time trial I am slowly improving year on year and I think I am at a level now were I am not afraid of the time trials. For the rest of the stages, there’s many mountains and from what I have seen from the route there’s a lot longer climbs which is good. 

“Watching the video tonight from the race this year, it brings back really good memories and it's good to see thar the Vuelta 2019 look as hard as always.”

Longer lengthier climbs

With 3272.2km to be covered in 21 days with 59 categories climbs along the way, La Vuelta a España 2019 boast a range of terrain and as expected an abundance of climbing. During some fairly short stages comes some notably lengthier climbs such as the Puerto de Peña Negra on the penultimate stage. 

S.Yates - “There’s many tough stages, some of the stages are short with concentrated climbing but sometimes these aren’t so bad because they are so short you can really get everything out. It is the ones that are really long that you have to conserve your energy a little more for the finals, they can be more tricky. 

“The last couple of years have had many short steep climbs but I saw there’s more longer drawn out climbs for 2019 which I think actually suits me better. But as always it really depends on how the stage is going.”

Off-road obstacle and back-to-back days

Unlike previous editions, the 2019 La Vuelta adds more challenges to the already tricky stages with the likes of an off-road gravel section on stage nine.

The second half of the race is stacked with back-to-back climbs which may leave the race open until the final moments for an exciting and unpredictable finale.

S.Yates - “I’ve been along the off-road section in Andorra many times, it is actually a short-cut to go home and it isn’t as bad as it looks on it's own, but to have it during a mountainous Andorra stage is very difficult. 

“There’s not only the Andorra stage that looks hard, there’s a lot of stages with many, many metres of climbing that all look very difficult.

"It is a very typical Vuelta route, there’s quite a lot of stages back-to-back that are really really hard. I would have to do more recon to know some of the stages in more details but as I say it looks very difficult.”

Photos courtesy of Getty Images