Chris Froome won the Vuelta a Espana for the second time in 2017 A very different 2020 Vuelta a España kicks off next Tuesday amid deep concerns over the soaring numbers of COVID-19 cases in Spain and across Europe, with a shortened 18-day format, and – perhaps the only really familiar element – a route that will likely see an out-and-out climber atop of the final podium.
Since the Slovenian national road race in mid-June, the first event to be held in post-lockdown Europe, the current pandemic and measures against it have inevitably formed part of the furniture of every bike race. But the fast-rising second wave of infections of COVID-19 across Europe, coupled with recent events in the Giro d’Italia , will further heighten the focus on this question in the last Grand Tour to be held in the rescheduled 2020 season.
The circumstances in Spain are increasingly challenging, not least because even compared to when the Giro started two and a half weeks ago, the situation regarding the pandemic worldwide continues to worsen. On top of that, Spain is at the forefront of Europe’s second wave, with Friday’s total of 15,196 new cases the highest daily total since the pandemic began. Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa recently described the situation as “worrying, unstable and fragile.” Earlier this week Fernándo Simon, the country’s top health emergency official, bluntly stated “there is not one territory where we have the rate [of infection] that we’d like to have.”
Several cities and parts of […]