Eight finals on high, short stages and only one individual time trial. La Vuelta maintains its personality, the one that has made it grow since in 2009 Javier Guillén took over as CEO. A year later, the leader jersey left gold to wear red, the last step for the transformation of a different career, which does not stop finding new incentives. The last one is the presence of "sterrato", four kilometers of land to further harden a stage of just 96 kilometers and five ports – Two of second, two of first and one of special category-. But the stage of Andorra arrives soon, nothing to do with the last course in which was the last step before the walk through Madrid. "Andorra is coming soon, but a stage like that is always beautiful in the middle of Vuelta, short and explosive "says Enric Mas, second last year. "What works must be maintained, although something must always be changed," Guillén acknowledges. That's why in 2019 he abandons the idea of ports short and demanding, sprints high to finish the stages and bet on longer mountains.
Andorra will be the ninth stage, which closes the first stage of the race. The next day will come the first day of rest, before the only individual time trial, 36 kilometers per French terrain with final in Pau. Neither should this race against the clock be decisive, far from the end, with two weeks ahead still to decide the winner. The organization has reserved for the end the stage that culminates in the Platform of Gredos. It's only a third port, but there you arrive after 189 kilometers and four more ports. Among them, the Alto de la Peña Negra, first, and the Serranillos where in 1983 Bernard Hinault decided the Vuelta that seemed to be aimed at crowning Julián Gorospe. Then the rider from Reynolds escaped then the great opportunity of his career and the "Cayman", two Tours. Injured, he could not run that year and was defeated by Laurent Fignon in the 84.
La Vuelta discovers new endings, such as the one in Javalambre, and recovers finals that not long ago have contributed ground to the show, such as Mas de la Costa and Los Machucos, with ramps of a difference of more than 20 percent. It also recovers the final in Bilbao, which after being more than 30 years without appearing in the planes of the race, is becoming habitual in the last editions. "There are two or three cheating stages, including the one that goes from Bilbao to the Machucos. He says they are second and third, but it's my training zone and I assure you they are not third", Explains Omar Fraile, who puts the focus on the Bilbao stage. But only with one hit, the port of Arraiz, the last one to get on, is too demanding. "It's two kilometers that stick a lot. It's very hard", it states. It also recovers the stage of Urdax-Dantzarinea, a walk through the stages of Zugarramurdi boycotted two years ago by cyclists.
And the last week he forgets the huge transfers of recent years to not get away much from Madrid. Recover the roads through the Sierra Madrileña after a stage with final in Guadalajara. After, Toledo, at a stage that should serve as tribute to Federico Martín Bahamontes in the year that marks the 60th anniversary of his victory in the Tour. A Tour for climbers like him. That can be the decisive stage for Enric Mas. "If you lose a hundred meters, they'll go away," he says. "The race is a bit different this year. They are longer ports, not so explosive, "says the Spaniard. "I like it a lot more than other years. Having less walls makes the leg not fatigued so much. Although they are shorter, the demand is always greater. The long port allows you to recover for the following days, "says Omar Fraile. "There are more opportunities for people to escape and looking to win tapas. It's going to give a really nice show, "he says. "A beautiful tour for me and the viewer"says Alejandro Valverde.