Vuelta may visit Basque terrain after 30+ years
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Vuelta may visit Basque terrain after 30+ years

by Bjorn Haake at 1:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 

The Vuelta a España is making plans to include the Basque Country after an absence of more than 30 years (not counting a small detour in 2005). Race director Javier Guillen announced today that in 2011, the Basques could be accommodated.

Guillen, who oversaw the Vuelta for the first time this year, is excited about the project. "It's a magnificent idea," he said to L'Equipe. He added that it could be the earliest in 2011, as the 2010 route was already decided. "We'd really like that the security is to guaranteed along the route and we also would like to have a lot of time to prepare for such a return."

The reason for the long drought is ETA, the violent Basque separation group. In 1978, the last time the Vuelta visited, they put up a road block as the race tried to go past. The Vuelta left, never to be seen in that region until 2005, when an accident required the race to reroute one stage. That added seven unexpected kilometers in the Basque region to that year's edition.

Guillen knows what the Basque Country means to Spanish cycling and its team, Euskaltel Euskadi, is a very strong outfit and has been in the pro peloton for a long time. "The Basque Country has always been a cycling region. To go back there would give the fans the recognition they deserve."

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