The three week long cycle race will finish in Madrid on 10th September.
The Vuelta a España is one of the main professional cycling stage races and this year the three week race, which began in the French city of Nimes, will follow tradition and finish with a circuit in the centre of Madrid. Stage 21 will start in the town of Arroyomolinos which lies 30 kilometres to the south-west of the capital.
The stage will be 117 kilometres long and with around 45 kilometres remaining the riders begin their first circuit in the city centre of Madrid. The circuit is 5.9 kilometres long and the riders will pass the finish-line ten times, so the sprinters will have ample opportunity to work out their strategies for the final sprint.
As in previous years, the race will finish in the Plaza Cibeles at about 8.40pm. The grand Plaza de Cibeles is a square which has become an iconic symbol of the city with its neo-classical architecture and the famous Fountain of Cibeles at its centre. The spectators who turn up to watch the cycling all along the route of the circuit will no doubt be busy watching the riders and they’ll have little time to look around them to admire the beautiful architecture all round them.
However, cycling fans who do have time for sightseeing before or after the race will no doubt be keen to visit museums such as the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, two of Europe’s premier art galleries. A visit to the Plaza Mayor is also highly recommended. This grand arcaded square is very popular with tourists and locals alike. The uniform architecture of the square dates back to 1617. The Plaza Mayor has always been the centre of festivities, bull fights, royal coronations and executions.. It is still used today for public celebrations and features a large Christmas Market every December.
As I write this blog the leader of the Vuelta is Britain’s Chris Froome who rides for Team Sky, followed by the Italian Vicenzo Nibali who is one minute 16 seconds behind Froome in the race general classification. Sunday’s stage will also provide an opportunity for the sprinters to come to the fore 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.