Depending on who you ask, the route to cycling’s Triple Crown can follow a few different paths. Strict traditionalists define it as winning the Giro, Tour and World Championships in the same year, while many others have expanded that definition to include any combo of three wins between the Worlds and Grand Tours. But no matter which races you use to classify a Triple Crown, all agree that claiming this never-before-earned title is almost impossible. Instead, more realistic riders often set their sights on the exceedingly difficult, yet attainable, task of taking home two Grand Tour wins in a single season, typically targeting the opening Giro and closing Vuelta at the centre of their ambitions.
But as with everything else this year, a compressed schedule and overlapping Grand Tours has required riders to rethink the season. For the first time, the Vuelta will start before the end of the Giro in Italy, dashing hopes of a double-tour title. Luckily, though, the excitement and drama of Spain’s premiere cycling race remain. As the youngest of the three GTs, La Vuelta Ciclista a España first set out from Madrid in May of 1935, three decades later than the neighbouring races. Over the years, the beauty of cycling in Spain, as well as the challenges posed by the looming Pyrenees mountains, have made the Vuelta an apt Grand Tour finale and one of the most highly anticipated races of the year.
For 2020, the Vuelta is foregoing its usual September start date, instead setting off for the first time in October from just outside San Sebastian along Spain’s mountainous north. But maybe the biggest change to this year’s race is its shortened schedule, reduced from twenty-one stages to eighteen and demanding cyclists and teams re-strategize their planned paths to victory. And while it remains to be seen the specific effects these changes will have on individual riders as the race unfolds in the coming weeks, there promises to be plenty of excitement along the way. Join us for the drama as the Vuelta begins to draw one of the most memorable Grand Tour seasons ever draws to a sensational close.