Vuelta a España 2011 returns to Orihuela

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THE second stage of the 76th Vuelta a España cycle route – which takes place between Saturday August 20 and Sunday September 11 – will end in Orihuela. “In 2010, the race passed through the heart of Orihuela City and traversed its surrounding districts and now, this year it will end in the heart of the coastal area of the municipality,” explained Mayor Monica Lorente.

To coincide with this event, there will be a full programme of activities including beach and sporting events and a week long gastronomic extravaganza.

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“The whole of the Orihuela will enjoy this event and businesses especially will benefit commercially from this great celebration of sport, as it takes place during the high season so the area will be inundated with tourists from all over Spain, Europe and the rest of the world; it will be a great way to showcase the Orihuela Costa.”

More than 10,000 people watched the conclusion of the Vuelta a España cycling tour last year during the Vega Baja stage and it is hoped that as this year’s stage takes place on a Sunday, even more people will line the streets to cheer on the cyclists.

More than 1.5 million television viewers watched the end of the stage on television.


The majority of the event’s expenses will be borne by the Alicante Provincial Government, which saw a 400 per cent return on its investment last year, and bars and restaurants along last year’s route all benefited by the extra customers who were eager to catch a glimpse of the sight of the multi national cyclists from the tour as they made their way through the 14 included municipalities of the Vega Baja.

Other businesses, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, also benefited and the majority of hotels in the city had 100 per cent occupancy.

The esteemed cycling tour of Spain will begin with a night time 16km team time trial in Benidorm and ends in the Spanish Capital, Madrid.


It has 21 stages and will cover more than 3000 kilometres during its three week duration.

This year’s race will not only see a return to the Basque Country for the first time in 33 years, it will also see the second stage of the high profile race taking in the full beauty of the Costa Blanca coastline; going from La Nucia in the north to the beaches of Orihuela Costa in the south; via Villajoyosa, Alicante, Santa Pola, Guardamar and Torrevieja.

Cyclists from all over the world will be taking on the challenging race and last year’s winner, Italian Vincenzo Nibali was at the launch, as were representatives from Russian Team Katusha who was victorious in the 2010 team competition.

The Vuelta avoids the Cataluña region and the Pyrenees this year but does include ten mountain stages and six summit finishes, two of which have never been climbed before. These are to Estacion de Montaña Manzaneda in Galicia on Stage 11 and La Farrapona in the Asturias region on Stage 14.

By Nicole Hallett

 


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