Chris Froome favourite as Spain’s Vuelta a España 2017 cycle race starts… in France!

FAVOURITE: Team Sky's Chris Froome

SPAIN’S  Vuelta a España 2017, (Tour of Spain) cycle race gets under way with a 13.7-kilometre team time trial in the city of Nîmes, France today (19 August).

After setting off from Nîmes, the 72nd Vuelta crosses the Pyrenees towards Andorra before spending almost three weeks in Spain.

The total distance of this year’s race is 3,324.1 kilometres (2,065 miles) over 21 stages.

Britain’s  32-year-old Chris Froome  (Team Sky) starts the race as hot favourite this year after finishing second to Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in 2016.

Froome appears to have tailored his season to perfection, allowing him to  peak for the Vuelta. On the eve of the race he said: “The plan was to have a lighter first part of the season and I think that’s worked. I certainly feel fresher. But whether that’s reflected in the racing we’ll have to wait and see.”

Spain’s three-time winner Alberto Contador announced earlier this month that he would retire following the Vuelta.

Vuelta a Espana 2017Vuelta a España 2017: Stage-by-stage

Stage one, Saturday Aug 19
Nîmes, team time trial, 13.7km

Stage two, Sunday Aug 20
Nîmes – Gruissan, 203.4km

Stage three, Monday Aug 21
Prades Conflent Canigó – Andorra la Vella, 158.5km

Stage four, Tuesday Aug 22
Escaldes-Engordany – Tarragona. Anella Mediterránea 2018, 198.2km

Stage five, Wednesday Aug 23
Benicàssim – Alcossebre, 175.7km

Stage six, Thursday Aug 24
Villarreal – Sagunt, 204.4km

Stage seven, Friday Aug 25
Lliria – Cuenca. Ciudad Patrimonio de la Humanidad, 207km

Stage eight, Saturday Aug 26
Hellín – Xorret de Catí. Costa Blanca Interior, 199.5km

Stage nine, Sunday Aug 27
Orihuela. Ciudad del Poeta Miguel Hernandez – Cumbre del Sol. El Poble Nou de Benitatxell, 174km

Stage 10, Tuesday Aug 29
Caravaca Año Jubilar 2017 – El Pozo Alimentación, 164.8km

Stage 11, Wednesday Aug 30
Lorca – Observatorio Astronómico de Calar Alto, 187.5km

Stage 12, Thursday Aug 31
Motril – Antequera. Los Dólmenes, 160.1km

Stage 13, Friday Sept 1
Coín – Tomares, 198.4km

Stage 14, Saturday Sept 2
Écija – Alto Sierra de La Pandera, 175km

Stage 15, Sunday Sept 3
Alcalá la Real – Sierra Nevada. Alto Hoya de la Mora. Monachil, 129.4km

Stage 16, Tuesday Sept 5
Circuito de Navarra – Logroño, individual time trial, 40.2km

Stage 17, Wednesday Sept 6
Villadiego – Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega, 180.5km

Stage 18, Thursday Sept 7
Suances – Santo Toribio de Liébana, 169km

Stage 19, Friday Sept 8
Caso. Parque Natural de Redes – Gijón, 149.7km

Stage 20, Saturday Sept 9
Corvera de Asturias – Alto de l’Angliru, 117.5km

Stage 21, Sunday Sept 10
Arroyomolinos – Madrid, 117.6km

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