Vuelta a Espana: Yorkshire cycling chiefs in talks to host start of event

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Image caption,

A record 2.6m spectators watched the Tour de Yorkshire in 2018

Yorkshire looks set to host the start of the Vuelta a Espana after the county's cycling chief confirmed "they want to do it, we want to do it".

The three-week Grand Tour race was won by Britain's Chris Froome in 2017.

Yorkshire hosted the Tour de France's Grand Depart in 2014 and is set to stage the 2019 World Championships.

The county's burgeoning reputation for staging world class races was enhanced this weekend when a record 2.6m fans watched the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire.

The race, extended this year by one day to four - with the women's race doubled to two days - was borne out of Yorkshire hosting the 2014 Tour.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity, who brought the Tour to the county said talks had been going on "for many months" although no year has been revealed.

"Javier [Guillen, the Vuelta director] was here for the presentation on Wednesday night and left on Friday," Verity added.

"We can offer stunning backdrops and fantastic crowds, he's been able to see that for himself in the flesh."

The Vuelta is the third of the year's Grand Tours and the three-week race usually starts in August. The Giro d'Italia is raced in May, while the Tour de France takes place in July.

The race has only started outside Spain on three occasions - last year's edition began in Nimes, France, while the race has also started in Lisbon, Portugal in 1997 and Assen, Netherlands in 2009.

When Yorkshire hosted the Tour de France, race director Christian Prudhomme called it the "grandest of Grand Departs".

The Tour has already been slated to return to the county again. The race is organised by Amaury Sport Organisation, which also looks after the Tour de Yorkshire and Vuelta a Espana among others.

Yorkshire will also stage the Road World Championships, in Septemeber 2019, making it the first British host venue of the event for 37 years.