The three week long cycle race around Spain will finish with a circuit race in Madrid on 13th September
The Vuelta a España is one of the main professional cycle races of the year and this year the three week race, which covers a total distance of 3,357 kilometres, will follow tradition and finish with a circuit in the centre of Madrid. Stage 21 will be a short one, running just 93.7 kilometres from: Alcalá de Henares to Madrid, including the circuits in the city centre.. Alcalá de Henares is just a small town, although its historic centre is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. After 35 kilometres the riders arrive at the 4.8 kilometre circuit round the city-centre. The riders will pass the finish-line twelve times, so the sprinters will have ample opportunity to work out their strategies for the final sprint.
The circuit will take in the Plaza Cibeles, Plaza de Colón, Plaza del Callao and the Glorieta Emperador with the race finishing in the Plaza Cibeles at about 8.40pm. The Plaza de Cibeles is a square with a neo-classical complex of marble sculptures with fountains that has become an iconic symbol of the city of Madrid. It sits at the intersection of Calle de Alcalá, Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo del Prado. This very central circuit runs right through the heart of the city, close to famous sights such as the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, two of Europe’s premier art galleries. The route also takes the cyclists close to the famous Retiro Park. The cyclists won’t be able to enjoy the sights of course, but perhaps some of the spectators may be able to make the most of their time in Madrid by visiting a gallery or by enjoying an hour or two in the Retiro during their stay.
As I write this blog the current leader of the race is the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin closely followed by Italian Fabio Aru who is only 3 seconds behind and Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez at just over a minute behind, so the scene is set for a very exciting final stage in Madrid. Hopefully large crowds will turn up to cheer on the riders and create an electric atmosphere in the centre of Madrid on Sunday.