The Spanish Grand Tour will start on French soil for the very first time in 2017, with a “gran salida” in the Languedoc city of Nîmes, around 250 km from the Spanish border.
This will be the third foreign start for the Vuelta, after 1997, when the race departed in Portugal, and the 2009 start in the Netherlands.
In a press conference, race director Javier Guillen confirmed that the Vuelta would start with a team time trial for the eighth consecutive year, though reportedly shorter than the 27.8km one teams took on this year.
Bullfighting is still alive in Nîmes: Bouts are held in the old Roman arena which could be a possible venue for the team presentation.
“I am leaving it open to the media to speculate what happens, whether we’ll have another stage in France or head directly into Spain,” Guillen said, with the possibility of entering Spain through Andorra also mooted.
The race will begin in Nimes on August 19, 2017, finishing in Madrid on September 10.
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2017 france gran salida nimes tour of spain vuelta a espana