The red jersey is only 10 years old, although it seems that it has been wearing the winner of the Vuelta all his life. It already has a value as historical, a symptom of the mystery of the Spanish race, of its finding of a new classicism of cycling, which deepens the journey of the Vuelta of 2019, presented this Wednesday in Alicante. It is his way of fitting in cycling, an ancient sport, of sweat and suffering, in postmodern times, of appearances.
It is a journey of the so-called modern, short stages, intense, presumably spectacular, so televised, drawn for old cyclists, pure climbers, who despises the most complete cyclists, men of all terrains, all watts, that, like the Tour, it leaves fasts of its favorite food, the counter-locks. In front of three ports hors catégorie and 15 first, and eight finals in high (in 21 stages), the individual time trial kilometers are reduced to 36 (between Jurançon and its vineyards and Pau, the most Hispanic city in the French Pyrenees), and 18 routes in teams , the first day of Vuelta, August 24, in the Salinas de Torrevieja, where the Havanans. A lifetime course, like the red jersey, and unbalanced, as always, that will dazzle the outgoing winner, Simon Yates, and all the climbers who grow, but at least less unbalanced than the Tour, which has terrified the big cyclists with only 26 kilometers of time trial in the same Pau.
Geographically, the Vuelta del 19, forgets Andalusia and Galicia, intense scenarios in 18, and is articulated in four large nuclei: Mediterranean coast, Andorran-French-Navarrese Pyrenees; Cantabrian coast from Bilbao to Asturias, and mountains around Madrid, Sierra de Guadarrama and Gredos. No stage reaches 200 kilometers.
It will begin in the broken Mediterranean coast between Alicante and Barcelona, with incursions already very early (from the fifth to the eighth stage) in rugged territories. Climb up to the observatory of Javalambre telescope, climb to almost 2,000 meters high, in the Teruel border with the Maestrazgo, a region that will have the next two stages, with final climbs in Mas de la Costa and Ares del Maestrat. They will be the prologue of the perhaps more symbolic stage, the octave, which will honor the old tours of the Setmana Catalana and the Volta, go from Valls, in Tarragona, to Igualada, cities with the PDeCAT mayor, passing through the climb to the Monastery of Montserrat, sentimental sanctuary of Catalan nationalism. It will be August 31, Saturday. The Civil Guard will leave to the Mossos d'Esquadra the motorcycle courtship of the peloton, and cycling will once again show its value as an integrator of the people, as that of all sports, over the borders that they want to erect.
After the show of the Machucos, in Cantabria and his cow pasiega and his sobaos, the decisive stages will be played, as usual, in Asturias, which will not offer the 19 nor the Angliru nor the Lagos, its two consecrated mountains, but a version wild and unpublished Alto del Acebo, the classic climb of the Tour of Asturias for its most unknown side, preceded by the hard Connio and Pozo de las Muertos, with a terrifying name. If this is not the queen stage, perhaps it will be the next day, the 16th, Monday 9th September, in which the professionals will know the Asturian giant of the Cubilla, up to more than 1,600 meters after 20 kilometers of endless ascent, as the large alpine cols, and preceded by the tough Marabio and Cobertoria.
The final trail will explode between Gredos, with the Peña Negra and final ascent to its Platform, and the usual Sierra Madrileña, with Navacerrada, Cotos and Morcuera, and final in Becerril, in the style of the stage in which Aru destroyed Dumoulin the penultimate Day of the Vuelta of 2015.
On Sunday September 15, in the traditional goal of Cibeles, in Madrid, will finish the Vuelta del 19. There will be bonuses of 10s, 6s and 4s to the first three of each stage and the distinctive jerseys will be four: the winner's red of the general, the green of the points, the blue spots of the king of the mountain and the white one, that will stop rewarding the combined one to go on to distinguish the best young person, under 25 years old (born from January 1, 1994) .