The Tour of España 2024 saw the light of day at the Marriott Auditorium Hotel this Tuesday, December 19, and is once again faithful to its hallmarks, with toughness and unprecedented high finishes (although less than in previous editions), leaving for the last day one of the great innovations of this 79th edition: a final time trial in Madrid that will decide the winner of La Vuelta.

The race will start on August 17 in Lisbon (the Portuguese authorities were present), also with a time trial, and will end on September 8 in Madrid, starting from the Telefónica District. It will be the fifth Vuelta that starts from abroad, the second from Lisbon, which was already the venue in 1997.

In total there will be 3,261 kilometers through two countries, nine Autonomous Communities, and various mythical colossi, such as the Lakes of Covadonga, and other more recent illustrious peaks that were already part of the race in previous editions: Pico Villuercas, Picón Blanco, Moncalvillo… .

There will be thirteen mountain days (nine high finishes) and half-mountain, more than half, so there will be hardly any transition days. The sprinters will have a maximum of six opportunities, and it is not guaranteed that all of them will be finishes on flat terrain, because they will ride on undulating roads that make mass arrivals so difficult.

To begin with, in Lisbon, the first differences will be seen, although they should not be excessive. Then, two favorable days for sprinters, before entering Spain through Extremadura, after making the jump to Plasencia.

And on the fourth day, the first high finish with Pico Villuercas. On the following day the jump to Andalusia will arrive, which will have four complete stages through seven provinces, with Cazorla and Granada (previous ascents to El Purche and Hazallanas, in Sierra Nevada) as major mountain difficulties.

From the south to Galicia, in the longest transfer of this edition, towards the Community that is the protagonist of the second week, with Baiona and Ancares (ten years later), marking the course of the favorites. And then… an almost regular date every year, Asturias, with Cuitu Negru before the rest day.

It will be a day in which the runners will have to recover all possible strength, because then it will be the turn of the Covadonga Lakes, before continuing north through Cantabria, La Rioja, with the return of Moncalvillo that left that duel so beautiful in 2020 between Roglic and Carapaz, and Picón Blanco, in Burgos lands.

It will be the last online stage (perhaps the queen stage by profile) before traveling to the Telefónica District of Madrid, as a tribute to the company’s 100 years, where the farewell time trial will begin.

An end in 2024 like that of the Tour and its test against the clock in Nice. Unlike the last edition, the east of the country will not have a leading role, and territories that were not in the game in 2023, such as Extremadura, Galicia and Andalusia, return… and with force.

The three unprecedented high finishes will be Yunquera (3rd), Cazorla (3rd) and the unprecedented Ancares slope (1st). “That La Vuelta looks at the sky is nothing more than an easy metaphor for its route, with kilometers and kilometers of stages in which the road points upward,” says its director, Javier Guillén. There were other authorities present such as the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, and the Minister of Education and Sports, Pilar Alegría. A breathless Vuelta with 21 days of excitement.

Source: Diario AS