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2009 Vuelta a España - 64th Edition of the Tour of Spain
By Staff
Date: 12/19/2008
2009 Vuelta a España - 64th Edition of the Tour of Spain

 2009 Vuelta a España  - 64th Edition of the Tour of Spain Course
Tour of Spain Course Preview: The Vuelta makes a 4 day sojourn in Holland before moving for the final two weeks to Spain to a traditional Madrid finish. A challenging and Epic Parcours.


This past Wednesday the parcours of the 64th edition of the Vuelta a Espana was announced. The race will run from the 29th August  opening with a time trial in Assen, Netherlands and finish on the 20th September when it will make its triumphant return to Madrid with a final 110 km jaunt Rivas after covering a total of approximately  3,281kilometers.

2009 Vuelta a España  © 2008 Unipublic, S.A.
Click on map for a larger image  

Once again the Vuelta presents a demanding and balanced parcours with 10 flat stages for the sprinters and 8 days for the mountain goats to display their anti-gravity talents with most of the climbing  coming in the second week. To summarize the climbing menu this year, the 2009 course boasts: 5 summit finishes; 3 - Hors Category, 10 Cat. 1climbs,16 - Cat. 2 climbs,19 -  Cat. 3 climbs and 4 - Cat 4. The time trial specialists have 3 contests with 60.5 total kilometers to weigh in and take minutes from their rivals.

Netherlands Start
click on photo for larger image -
© 2008 Unipublic, S.A.
For the first time in 12 years the Vuelta starts in the north  with a 4 stage sojourn in  Holland with The race opens with an individual time trial of 4.5km around Assen to choose the first wearer of the golden fleece of race leader.

The next three stages will test the roads most familiar to us from the northern classics including climbs of the Cauberg on the fourth stage finishing in Leige, Belgium before a rest/transition stage as the riders move to Tarragona for stage 5.

New cities joining the Vuelta roster for 2009 are: In the Netherlands: Stages 1 & 2: Assen ,Emmen and Stage 3 & 4: Venlo to Liege,Belgium. In Spain Stage 6 Xátiva hosts a circuit race; and the Stage 12 mountain top finish on the Alto de Velefique

The first 4 days in the Netherlands should provide the sprinters and Classic specialists opportunities to attempt to take the gold jersey off the shoulders  of  the winner of  stage 1 time trial in Assen where the flat profile favors the prologue specialists. It could be the winner just might hold onto the gold jersey of race leader until the transfer to Spain after the Vuelta's longest stage (224 kilometers) finishes in Liege, Belgium.

Arriving inTarragona, there are two more days  for the breakaway specialists to duel with the sprinters teams to see who will arrive at the finish line first. sure to provide a dynamic and exciting first week. The design of these stages that encourage the adventurers in the peloton to strike out for Spanish gold. The first week ends with a 30 km individual time trial where the favorites will look to gain valuable seconds on the climbers before the annual mountain men's climbing festival gets underway.

Although the second week looks daunting, the parcours is actually a trilogy of mountain stages for the climbers starting with back to back climbing stages with summit finishes on stage 8 and 9. Stage 10 gives a bit of respite with a mild stage to Murcia a good one for the long break that just might be allowed free rein by the favorites as it is followed by the well deserved second day of rest. Get the rest while you can lads,  the race continues to without breaks for the next 11 days. for

 Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde commented, "Almost all the mountain stages are concentrated in the second week, when the overall leaders will come to the fore. It's a Tour for climbers."

After 11 days in the saddle, road weary legs will face three days of pain with mountain top finishes on stage 12, 13 and 14 with 13 categorized climbs in the three days over 566 kilometers, Ouch! The three days of drama and suffering are followed with 4 hilly stages (15 - 17) once again bringing out the stage hunters and sprinters, well those sprinters capable of surviving the previous three days in the mountains.

At this point, another rest day would fit perfectly; but sorry caballeros, no more to be had. The last act of the drama will be played out in 9 stages with no rest until Madrid. This will wear on the riders and teams as they hit the final three demanding stages of this years Vuelta before  the ceremonial parade into Madrid.

With 17 days and over 2,500 kilometers in their legs, stage 18 opens with the Cat. 2 Alto Pielago at 1120 meters followed by the  Cat. 1 Mijares 1570 m, which should start the penultimate selection among the favorites in the final battle for supremacy. Stage 19will be a bear of a day with 3 category 1 climbs where the brave or desperate rider might grasp the opportunity of testing the race leader on the final climb of the race, the Navacerrada. The final act will be played out on the stage 20, the 26 kilometers (less than flat) race against the clock.

Whoever is in the gold jersey on that Saturday in September, deserves a leisurely ride into Madrid to claim his prize as a most worthy participant to add his name to the Vuelta roll of honor.

The parcours looks to be an epic contest from the visit to the home of the Spring Classics to the arrival in Madrid,  I can only concur with the Vuelta's new director, Javie Guillen when he commented at the presentation, "All the ingredients are there to enjoy great cycling,"  avier Guillen, took over for Victor Cordero as director this year; Cordero oversaw the Vuelta organisation for the last 13 years.

 Larger image stage 1-11     
© 2008 Unipublic, S.A.

2009 64th Edition of the Vuelta a España Stages
Stage 1 (8/29 - Saturday) Assen - Assen ITT - 4.5 km (Netherlands)

Stage 2 (8/30 - Sunday) Assen - Emmen 202 km
Cote de Witteveen 30 meters

Stage 3  (8/31 - Monday)  Zutphen - Venlo  185 km

Stage 4  (September1 Tuesday)  Venlo - Liege (Belgium)  224 km Longest Stage
3 Climbs:  Twice over the Cat. 4 Cauberg 150 m, Cat.4 Mont Teux 338,m.

1rst Rest - Transfer Day (September 2, Wednesday)

Stage 5  (September 3,Thursday)  Tarragona - Vinaroz 174 km
2 Categorized Climbs: Cat. 2 Alto de Fatxas 510 m, Cat.3 Ato de Benifallet 360 m.

Stage 6  (September 4, Friday)   Xativa - Xativa 186 km
4 Categorized Climbs:
Cat. 2 Alto de la Muela 610 m., Cat. 3 Alto Millares 560 m. New, Cat.3 Alto de Beniganim 320 New

Stage 7  (September 5, Saturday)   Valencia - Valencia ITT- 30 km

Stage 8 (September6, Sunday)  Alzira - Alto de Aitana 206 km
Stage Profile  8 Categorized Climbs:  Cat. 3 Alto de Beniarres 600 m New, Cat. 3 Alto de Margarida 620 m, 2 Alto de Tollos 830 m, Cat. 3 Alto de Castell de Castells 800 m. New, Cat. 2 Alto de Guadalest 690 m. New, Cat. 3 Alto de confrides 960 m, Cat. 2 Pto. de Tudons 1030 m, Especial (Hors Categorie) Summit finish on Alto Base de Aitana 1510 meters.

Stage 9  (September 7, Monday) Alcoi - Xorret de Cati 186 km
Stage 9 Profile - 7 Categorized Climbs: Cat. 3 Alto de Onil 1000 meters New, Cat. 3 Alto de Tibi 710 m, Cat. 2 Pto. de la Carrasqueta 1020 m, Cat. 2 Alto de Tudons 995 m, Cat. 2 Pto. de Torre Manzanas 906 m, Cat. 2 Pto. de la Carrasqueta 1020 m, Summit finish on Cat. 1 Alto de Xorret de Cati 1090 meters. Note: second passage to the summit of Xorret de Cati in final 2 km at 900 meters after a short descent.

Stage 10 (September 8, Tuesday)   Alicante - Murcia 162 km
Cat. 2 Alto de la Cresta del Gallo 400 meters

2nd Rest Day (September 9, Wednesday)

Stage 11 (September 10, Thursday)  Murcia - Caravaca de la Cruz 191 km
Stage 11 Profile - Medium Mtn.- 3 Categorized Climbs, All Newto the Vuelta: Cat. 1 Alto Collado Bermejo 1200 m, Cat. 3 Alto de Zarzadilla 1030 m, Cat. 2 Alto de Moratalla 1240 meters. Finish 32 km from the summit of Alto de MOratalla a day for adventurers on a long break.

Larger image Stages  12 -21     © 2008 Unipublic, S.A.

Stage 12 (September 11, Friday)  Almeria - Alto de Velefique 174 km
Stage 12 Profile - 4 Categorized Climbs: Cat. 1 Alto de Velefique 1840 meters New Meta, Cat. 1 Alto de Calar Alto 1980 m, Cat. 3 Alto de Filabres 1280 New, Summit finish on Cat. 1 Alto de Velefique 1840 meters.

Stage 13             © 2008 Unipublic, S.A.

Stage 13 (September 12, Saturday)  Berja - Alto de Sierra Nevada 175 km
 Stage 13 Profile - 5 Categorized Climbs: Cat. 3 Alto de Berja 840 m, Cat.1 Puerto de la Ragua 2000 New, Cat. 3 Puerto Los Blancares 1290 m, Cat. 1 Alto de Monachil 1510 m, Summit finish on Cat. Especial (Hors Categorie) Alto de Sierra Nevada 2520 meters.

Stage 14 (September 13, Sunday)  Granada - La Pandera 157 km
Stage 14 Profile -  4 Categorized Climbs: Cat. 3 Alto de las Encebras 1140 m, Cat. 3 Alto de Huelma 1167 m, Cat. 2 Alto de lo Villares 1200 meters, Summit finish on Cat. Especial Sierra de la Pandera 1840 meters.

Stage 15 (September 14, Monday)  Jaén - Córdoba (168 km)
Category 2 Alto del Catorce por ciento 560 meters New

Stage 16 (September 15,  Tuesday)   Córdoba - Puertollano 170 km
2 Categorized Climbs: Cat. 3 Alto de los Villares 580 m, Cat. 3 Puerto. de la Chimorra 730 m.

Stage 17 (September 16, Wednesday)   Ciudad Real - Talavera de la Reina 175 km

Stage 18 (September 17, Thursday)   Talavera de la Reina - Avila  187 km
Stage 18 Profile - 4 Categorized Climbs: Cat. 2 Alto Pielago 1120 meters New, Cat. 1 Puerto de Mijares 1570 m, Cat. 2 Alto Mediano 1380 meters  New, Cat. 3 Alto de Boquerón 1310 meters New

Stage 19      © 2008 Unipublic, S.A.

Stage 19 (September 18, Friday)  Avila - La Granja. Real Fábrica de Cristales 174 km
Stage 19 Profile -   - 4 Categorized Climbs: Cat. 3 Alto del Leon 1510 m, Cat. 1 Alto Navacerrada 1870 m, Cat. 2 Pto. de la Morcuera 1795 m, Cat. 1 Pto. de Navacerrada 1870 meters. Uphill finish `8.7 km after the summit of the Navacerrada.

Stage 20 (September 19, Saturday)  Toledo - Toledo ITT  26 km

Stage 21 (September 20, Sunday)  Rivas - Madrid  110 km
otal distance: 3,266.50 km

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