Cycling’s final grand tour of the year begins on August 20 as the annual three-week test of stress, strain and stamina takes place in the 2016 edition of La Vuelta a Espana with live coverage of every stage on Eurosport and daily highlights on ITV4.
Recently crowned Tour de France champion Chris Froome is set to reignite his rivalry with Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana in the sport’s third Grand Tour of the season.
Team Sky’s Froome, who has raced four of the last five editions of the Spanish race, will be looking to claim his first red jersey after finishing runner-up on two occasions, but in order to do so he’ll have to take on rivals Contador and Quintana on some of the toughest climbs in world cycling.
Froome is also aiming to emulate Jacques Anquetil in 1963 and Bernard Hinault in 1978 by completing the Tour-Vuelta double.
Contador, who was forced to retire through injury at the Tour de France, will enter the race as one of the favourites, having claimed the famous ‘maillot rojo’ on three occasions in 2008, 2012 and most recently in 2014.
Last year’s race was one of the most exciting in recent history, with the top-four riders all finishing within two minutes of each other, with Astana’s Fabio Aru claiming his first ever Grand Tour victory in impressive fashion, beating Joaquim Rodriguez and Rafal Majka in second and third respectively.
The three-week race comprises just one flat stage, 18 hill and mountain stages, one team time trial and one individual time trial, all of which starts in Balneario Laias on Saturday, August 20 and ends in Madrid on Sunday, September 11, covering a total distance of 3,277km.
Eurosport will screen live coverage of every stage from the 2016 La Vuelta a Espana, with lead commentator Carlton Kirby joined by 1988 Vuelta a Espana champion Sean Kelly for the three-week race, while presenter Ashley House and Eurosport cycling analyst Juan Antonio Flecha will bookend the channel’s live stage coverage with special preview and review shows each day.
As well as live TV coverage, Eurosport will have live online streaming of the race via its subscription Eurosport Player service.
ITV4 will broadcast daily free-to-air highlights of the event with Gary Imlach presenting the channel’s daily highlights, with roving reports from Daniel Friebe and stage commentary from Ned Boulting and David Millar.
It is the sixth year ITV4 has broadcast the race and it will again air a one-hour highlights programme every night, usually starting at 7.00pm, with the programme also available to watch on-demand via ITV Hub.