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La Vuelta air not always healthy

La Vuelta air not always healthy

image: Map depicting the air quality of the Vuelta stage in Utrecht. Credit: Utrecht University view more Credit: Utrecht University The Netherlands is preparing for…

Thursday, Aug 18

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image: Map depicting the air quality of the Vuelta stage in Utrecht. Credit: Utrecht University view more Credit: Utrecht University The Netherlands is preparing for La Vuelta Holanda which starts on Friday 19 August. How clean is the air in the places that the peloton is visiting? Researchers from Utrecht University have mapped the annual average air quality of each stage of La Vuelta and demonstrate that the air is most polluted at the start (Utrecht) and finish (Madrid). They also conclude that for many stretches the air quality does not meet World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Nevertheless, the health benefits of cycling generally outweigh the risks.

It’s often said that "cycling is healthy" when we set off in all kinds of weather. But how clean is the air you breathe if you cycle the same route as the La Vuelta peloton on a normal day? This was the question researchers Roel Vermeulen and Jules Kerckhoffs asked themselves. Using satellite images, traffic information and air quality data about nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and ozone, they made a stage map booklet [insert link] showing the air quality for each stage of La Vuelta.

The conclusion is clear: the most polluted stages are those in the Netherlands and the Spanish stage from La Rozas to Madrid. Particularly in the urban areas, the air quality does not meet WHO guidelines. On top of that, there are a few places where the European limit value is exceeded. It is generally accepted that places with […]

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