Vuelta champion Chris Horner, still without a team for the 2014 season, was missing as this year’s edition of the race was unveiled in Cadiz yesterday – with organisers confirming that for the first time in more than two decades, the Spanish Grand Tour will not finish in Madrid.
Instead, the concluding stage of the race will see a 10km individual time trial in the historic pilgrimage destination of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, rather than the sprinter-friendly circuit that the race traditionally finishes on in the capital.
The 3,181.5km parcours of the three-week race, which begins in the Sherry capital of Jerez de la Frontera in the province of Cadiz, features eight summit finishes compared to 12 in last year’s race.
The first of those comes on Stage 6 and the full route is detailed in a flythrough video from organisers Unipublic that you can find by following this link.
Referring to Horner’s absence, Vuelta race director Javier Guillen said: “We invited him, and he is totally welcome. We are very proud of our winners and Horner is the current defending champion.”
When he won the Vuelta last September, Horner, who has since turned 42 years of age, became the oldest winner of any of cycling’s Grand Tours.
While his victory has been greeted with suspicion in some quarters, it is his reported demand of a seven-figure salary that is seen as the main reason for his failure so far to secure employment for the coming season.
“Maybe he didn’t want to come because he has no team, but I really don’t know the reason,” Guillen added.
Also absent from the presentation was Horner’s predecessor as Vuelta champion, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador.
However, he has confirmed that he will be back this year to seek a third victory in his home Grand Tour, saying: “See you in Jerez next August 23rd,” reports Reuters.
2014 Vuelta a Espana
Stage 1: Saturday, August 2
Jerez de la Frontera, 12.6km TTT
Stage 2: Sunday, August 24
Algeciras to San Fernando, 174.4km
Stage 3: Monday, August 25
Cadiz to Arcos de la Frontera, 188km
Stage 4: Tuesday, August 26
Mairena del Alcor to Cordoba, 172.6km
Stage 5: Wednesday, August 27
Priego de Cordoba to Ronda, 182.3km
Stage 6: Thursday, August 28
Benalmadena to La Zubia, 157.7km
Stage 7: Friday, August 29
Alhendin to Alcaudete, 165.4km
Stage 8: Saturday, August 30
Baeza to Albacete, 207.4km
Stage 9: Sunday, August 31
Carbonera de Guadazaon to Valdelinares
Monday, September 1 - rest day
Stage 10: Tuesday, September 2
Monasterio de Santa Maria de Veruela to Borja, 34.5km ITT
Stage 11: Wednesday, September 3
Pamplona to San Miguel de Aralar, 151km
Stage 12: Thursday, September 4
Logrono to Logrono, 168km
Stage 13: Friday, September 5
Belorado to Obregon, 182km
Stage 14: Saturday, September 6
Santander to La Camperona, 199km
Stage 15: Sunday, September 7
Oviedo to Lagos de Covadonga, 149km
Stage 16: Monday, September 8
San Martin del Rey Aurelio to La Farrapona, 158.8km
Tuesday, September 9 - rest day
Stage 17: Wednesday, September 10
Ortigueria to A Coruna, 174km
Stage 18: Thursday, September 11
A Estrada to Monte Castrove en Meis, 173.5km
Stage 19: Friday, September 12
Salvaterra de Mino to Cangas de Morrazo, 176.5k
Stage 20: Saturday, September 13
Santo Estevo de Riba de Sil to Puerto de Ancares, 163.8km
Stage 21: Sunday, September 14
Santiago de Compostela to Santiago de Compostela, 10km ITT
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.