New dates for the Tour de France put Vuelta and Giro on the defensive

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Madrid (AFP)

Holding the Tour de France is fundamental for the well-being of cycling, but respect for the Spanish and Italian Grand Tours must be maintained, insisted Thursday Javier Guillen, director of the Vuelta a Espana.

Guillen’s comments come after the Tour, which accounts for almost two-thirds of cycling gains, has been postponed to August 29, in contradiction with the traditional Vuelta dates.

“Everything for the Tour, but not for everyone,” Guillen told Spanish sports daily AS.

“We are fully aware of the scale of the Tour and the need to maintain it. But we can’t just save the Tour, we have to save the whole calendar. “

The Vuelta in its usual form would be the third three-week cycling Grand Tour of the season after the Giro in May and the Tour in July, generally starting three weeks after the end of the French race.

But the Tour should now be run from August 29 to September 20, with the Vuelta still scheduled between August 14 and September 6.

“You can’t discredit an international event like La Vuelta in Spain these days after soccer cycling is the event with the most international coverage,” added Guillen.

New dates for the Giro and the Vuelta will be announced before May 15.

The decision to remove the Tour from its traditional niche during the summer holidays means that the usual roadside crowd of around 12 million would be less dense.

Elite cycling will breathe a huge sigh of relief as the Tour accounts for most of its winnings.

“The Tour represents around 60% of the gains in a season,” said France’s AG2R boss Vincent Lavenu in early April.

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