Yorkshire made to wait for Vuelta Espana by Utrecht bid

Yorkshire may have to wait until 2022 at the earliest to host the start of La Vuelta Espana after organisers of Spain's Grand Tour announced yesterday that its 2020 edition would begin in Utrecht and Noord-Brabant.

Mitchelton-Scott's British cyclist Simon Yates celebrates on the podium after winning the 73rd edition of "La Vuelta" Tour of Spain cycling race in Madrid on September 16, 2018. (Picture: BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP/Getty Images)

Yorkshire is in talks to host the first three days of the race in the near future with discussions at such an advanced stage that it is merely now a case of when, not if.

August of 2021 and 2022 had been the dates up for discussion, but La Vuelta organisers would be unlikely to start their race outside Spain for two years running, especially given it has only ever left home turf on three previous occasions.

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Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity confirmed to The Yorkshire Post last week that he is due to travel to Spain in the coming days to continue discussions.

Yorkshire proved a hugely successful host of the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France and will host the UCI Road World Championships next September.

Welcome to Yorkshire also runs the annual Tour de Yorkshire every May.

The Vuelta, which was won in 2018 by Britain’s Simon Yates, began in Lisbon in 1987, in Assen in 2009 and in Nimes 18 months ago, the year Chris Froome won the race.

Utrecht hosted the start of the Tour de France in 2015 and a stage of the Giro d’Italia in 2010.

Britain's Chris Froome of Team Sky celebrates after winning the Vuelta a Espana cycling race after the Stage 21 on September 10, 2017 in Madrid. (Picture: Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

The 2020 Vuelta will start with a team time-trial in Utrecht before a second stage from ‘s-Hertogenbosch to Utrecht. The third stage will head into the province of Noord-Brabant with a stage starting and finishing in Breda. In a release, Vuelta director Javier Guillen said he was “impatient” to experience a second Dutch start to the race given the “passion felt by the Dutch for cycling and the whole universe surrounding this sport”.

The McLaren Group has set its sights on becoming “the best in professional cycling” after securing a 50 per cent stake in UCI WorldTour team Bahrain Merida. McLaren said it wanted to bring its expertise from Formula 1 and other sports to cycling, working alongside the Bahrain Merida team which was formed in 2017 and is home to 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali.