THE Costa del Sol was the star the show for four days, showcased on television screens in 190 different countries across the world as it hosted the first four stages of the Vuelta de España cycling race.
A study by Unipublic event organisers estimated that 330 million viewers worldwide would be tuning in to watch the race, 31 million of them in Spain alone, with fans in Belgium, Holland, Norway and Denmark also particularly interested in the event.
Stage one, a time trial between Puerto Banus and Marbella’s marina, became the first in the race’s 70-year history to end on a beach but eventually it was announced times would not count following complaints about the safety of the route.
Altogether the tortuous stages wound through 17 municipalities in Malaga Province, creating a unique chance for potential visitors from all over the world to get tantalising glimpses of the sights they could see on a Costa holiday.
After the competitors left Estepona and headed out of the province and into Cadiz on Tuesday (August 25), Malaga Provincial Council leader Elias Bendodo reported that the four days had not only given the area invaluable publicity but also attracted extra earnings, with hotels billing €900,000 for stays generated by the Vuelta.
Bendodo thanked everyone involved in preparing for and organising the race stages, the security forces who worked to ensure everyone stayed safe, and local residents and fans for their support, saying everything had gone perfectly.