The 2014 Tour of Spain will finish with a 10km individual time trial in the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela, organisers revealed on Saturday in a change from the usual procession through Madrid on the final stage of the race.
Having attracted a fearsome reputation for the number and severity of its mountain climbs in recent years, the overall complexion of the route is slightly more forgiving this time round.
“It is not as hard as on other occasions, but with even more excitement with shorter and more nervous stages,” said Tour director Javier Guillen.
“Although we like the mountains a lot, we can’t undermine the race in general.”
The 69th edition of La Vuelta also begins with a team time trial on August 23 and will encompass 21 stages in all before finishing on September 14 in the famous pilgrim city in northwestern Spain.
However, the race is likely to be decided on eight gruelling mountain finishes with three in consecutive days on stages 14, 15 and 16.
There will be one further individual TT on stage 10 after the first rest day with a second rest day planned between stages 16 and 17 on the final Tuesday of the three-week long race.
Saxo Bank’s Alberto Contador is going in search of third Tour of Spain victory on home soil having missed last year’s race, and he welcomed the slightly less demanding route planned by the organisers.
“It is a very nice and interesting route with some strong mountain finishes, which are always quite exciting for the spectators,” he said.
Spaniards Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez have also already signalled their intent to participate in the race which was won last year by American Chris Horner.
However, with the world championships also due to take place in Ponferrada, Spain, less than two weeks after the finish, the race could attract an even stronger field than in recent years.