Wildfires may affect Vuelta a Espana time trial

Wildfires in the area of Javea, Spain may affect the route for the Vuelta a España time trial on Friday.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated and at least 20 houses destroyed by wildfires outside the Costa Blanca resort of Javea, just days before the area plays host to the Vuelta.

Three fires were deliberately started on one of the hottest days of the year, emergency authorities have said. The temperature in some places is 40C, but officials hope winds that fanned the flames will decrease.

Retiree John Deacon, 75, told the Telegraph: “Huge flames started coming down the hill at about 8pm last night. I left for a friend’s house with what I had on me, no credit cards or anything, and wondered all night what it would be like to be left standing in my underpants wondering what to do when it is all gone.”

Tourist Emma Swift said: “The sky has been busy all morning with several planes and helicopters dropping sea water on the main area. It appears there is one very large plume of smoke which they are concentrating their efforts on, but not sure if they have it under control.”

The stage 19 time trial looks to be one of the most crucial of the Vuelta a España, with the 37km route from Javea to Calpe potentially sealing the overall winner. Riders will pass through Benitatxell after 12km of the route as it skirts south to Calpe.