Utrecht closer to being Vuelta a España start point in 2020

The first stage of Vuelta a España 2017 in Nimes, France
The first stage of Vuelta a España 2017 in Nimes, FrancePhoto: Marianne Casamance / Wikimedia Commons

The chance that the Vuelta a España will start in Utrecht in 2020 increased considerably on Monday. The Provincial States made a contribution of 2.1 million euros available for the organization involved in being the cycling event's starting point, NU.nl reports.

The province of Noord-Brabant and the municipalities of Breda and Den Bosch also gave the green light for making a financial contribution. And the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports agreed to contribute 2.5 million euros. With that the biggest hurdle of brining the Vuelta to Utrecht - the financial side of organizing the first legs of the race - is as good as out of the way.

This does not mean that the Vuelta will definitely start in the Netherlands in 2020 - the northern Spanish municipality of Burgos is also still in the running, according to the newspaper. The organizers will announce their decision on August 25th. 

Vuelta director Javier Guillen is optimistic about Utrecht's chances, he said to newspaper AD. But he stressed that it is not a foregone conclusion yet. "We have been talking to Utrecht for a while. But nothing has been decided yet. What I can say is that the contact is very good. If you ask me whether I'm optimistic, then I am just that." In general the Vuelta organizers are reluctant to start the race in foreign parts. "As always, we have a preference for a start in Spain. But that does not have to happen every year. So if we do come to the Netherlands again in 2020, that's no problem."

The last time the Vuelta was in the Netherlands was in 2009, when Assen was the starting point. In 2015 Utrecht was the starting point for the Tour de France, gaining experience in organizing such a major cycling event. 

Should the Netherlands win this honor, the plan is to have the Vuelta start in the city of Utrecht with a team presentation on Thursday, 20 August 2020, and a team time trial the day after, according to NU.nl. On the second race day, the cyclists will start in Den Bosch, race through a large arc via the Utrechtse Heuvelrug and Amersfoort, and end in Utrecht. Breda will be the start and finish point of the third stage, after which the race will leave the Netherlands.