The Vuelta a España has announced that its 2023 edition will start with a team time trial for a second successive year.
For the first time in over half a century, the Vuelta is due to start next year in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, kicking off on Saturday, August 26, a full week later than in 2022.
The later Vuelta start date is partly explained by the shift in the calendar for the UCI World Championships, brought forward to August next year and incorporating multiple different events including road, MTB and track. The last World Championships race will be on Sunday, August 13.
The Vuelta’s inclusion of a team time trial for a second year running will once gain test riders in an increasingly rarely used discipline in Grand Tours, although the Vuelta begins with a TTT this year for the first time since 2019.
The Barcelona TTT will be just 14 kilometres long, L’Equipe reported Friday, roughly half the distance of the Utrecht event this Friday. However, the 2023 Vuelta TTT will have an uphill finish in Montjuic Park in central Barcelona, a much tougher challenge than Utrecht’s totally flat route.
Montjuic Park has strong historic connections with cycling in Spain and even had its own race, the late season Circuito a Montjuic, for many years. It is still regularly used as a finish for the last stage of the Volta a Catalunya and also hosted a World Championships way back in 1973. The last time the Vuelta had a start or finish of any kind in Barcelona was in 2012, also in Montjuic, while the last time the Vuelta started in the Catalan capital was far less recent, in 1962.
It is not known where the 2023 Vuelta will head after its opening TTT, although there are rumours of an incursion into France. A return to the Pyrenees, missing from the Vuelta’s route since a single summit finish stage back in 2020, is also said to be on the cards.