Newspaper apparently publishes itinerary of Spanish Grand Tour ahead of January's official launch...

There’s still a couple of months to go before the route of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana is officially unveiled, but a Spanish newspaper appears to have jumped the gun with the publication this morning of what appears to be the full itinerary of the 66th edition of the race.

The newspaper concerned is El Diario de Leon, the region which Stages 16 and 17 of the race are expected to visit, including a summit finish on the Alto de Ancares. Details of the stage host towns appear alongside a map of potential routes of Stage 17, as well as a profile of Stage 16.

If the route, shown in the picture above – you can hover over it to zoom in for a closer look – is correct, then the race will include three individual time trials, plus a final week peppered with stage starts and finishes on the northern coast that is also likely to see the Cantabrian mountains figure heavily.

Organisers Unipublic did announce in September that the 2011 race would be starting with a time trial in Benidorm, but they didn’t specify whether that would be the team version similar to that with which this year’s race started in Seville, or an individual race against the clock. It appears the latter may be the case.

According to the itinerary, the first week or so of the race unfolds in southern Spain, promising plenty of climbing, before heading through the centre of the country, with stage starts in Toledo and Avila, ahead of the second individual time trial of the race in and around the Galician medieval port city of Pontevedra.

That looks likely to be followed by a succession of mountain stages in the north west of the country before the race leaves Santander to enter the Basque country with stage finishes in Bilbao and Vitoria.

While this year’s race ended with road stage and a bunch finish in Madrid, won by Tyler Farrar with Mark Cavendish doing enough to ensure the green points jersey, and  Vincenzo Nibali statying safely out of trouble to clinch the overall, the 2011 race is predicted to end with a potentially decisive individual time trial from the medieval citadel of Alcala de Henares into the Spanish capital.

Whether or not this is the actual route of the 2011 Vuelta will be revealed in January. The 2011 race was due to have been launched next month in Alicante, the capital of the province in which Benidrom is located.

However, Spanish press reports at the weekend said that the presentation had been postponed while construction of Alicante's new conference centre is completed.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.