The Vuelta goes Giro.

Guillén goes up hill.

The Vuelta a Espana went italian, not French.

Perhaps taking inspiration from last year’s brutal and torturous Giro d’Italia, race director Javier Guillén presented a menacing route with seven summit finishes. the 67th edition of what we like to call the Helta Skelta Vuelta takes place entirely in Northern Spain, only dipping down into Madrid for the final day.

Former Giro impresario Angelo Zomeganan — who lost his job after that killer Giro — liked to say that he put a little “drama” in every stage. It appears the Guillén devised the route based on fan approval. “There are so many summit finishes because that is what the public demand,” Guillén explained. “We’ve gone out looking for short and explosive stages.”

Critics are already saying that it will be impossible for a time trial expert to get anywhere near the podium. This Vuelta is a gift to Spain’s pocket rocket Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). He had three times the enthusiasm as anyone else, saying “There are lots of explosive summit finishes. I like it, I like it, I like it.” The Global Cycling Shindig will bring their A team to support Purito in his quest for a grand tour victory.

Essentially, all that stands in the was of Rodriquez willing is a 40k time trial son stage eleven. But given the number of summit finishes on short, punchy stages, this is his tour to lose.

The summit-heavy Vuelta reminds Twisted Spoke about something RadioShack-Nissan’s Chris Horner said about the last Tour de France. He called the route — and the one this year — “soft.” On the other hand, he loved the climb-crazy Giro and said it was spectacular.

In recent years, the Giro and especially the Vuelta have definitely come up in stature and fan interest compared to the Tour de France. The Spanish have worked hard to conjure up imaginative and unexpected routes and stages. The people at ASO have been watching those developments carefully.

This year’s edition of the Giro was scaled back and the Tour favors a time trialer who can climb. We’ll see this year which of the three grand tours provides the most excitment. Horner would tell you the Vuelta made the right calls.

The route of the 2012 Vuelta a España:

Stage 1, August 18: Pamplona team time trial, 16.2km

Stage 2, August 19: Pamplona-Viana, 180km

Stage 3, August 20: Oion-Arrate (Eibar), 153km

Stage 4, August 21: Barakaldo-Valdezcaray, 155km

Stage 5, August 22: Logroño-Logroño, 172km

Stage 6, August 23: Tarazona-El Fuerte del Rapitán (Jaca), 174km

Stage 7, August 24: Jaca-Motorland (Alcañiz), 160km

Stage 8, August 25: Lleida- Coll de la Gallina (Andorra), 175km

Stage 9, August 26. Andorra-Barcelona, 194km

August 27: Rest day

Stage 10, August 28: Ponteareas-Sanxenxo, 166km

Stage 11, August 29: Cambados-Pontevedra time trial, 40km

Stage 12, August 30: Vilagarcía-Mirador de Ezaro (La Coruña), 184.6km

Stage 13, August 31: Santiago de Compostela-Ferrol, 172.7km

Stage 14, September 1: Palas do Rei-Los Ancares, 152km

Stage 15, September 2: La Robla-Lagos de Covadonga, 186.7km

Stage 16, September 3: Gijón (Villa de Jovellanos)-Cuitu Negro, 185km

September 4: Rest day

Stage 17, September 5: Santander-Fuente Dé, 177km

Stage 18, September 6: Aguilar de Campoo-Valladolid, 186.4km

Stage 19, September 7: Peñafiel-La Lastrilla, 169km

Stage 20, September 8: Palazuelo del Eresma-Bola del Mundo, 169.5km

Stage 21, September 9: Cercedilla-Madrid, 111.9km

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  • http://twitter.com/mtn_rcr @mtn_rcr

    and now it's perfect for the return of Alberto!

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Alberto will crush everyone in this Vuelta on revenge alone. I predict he wins by 4 maybe 5 minutes. Matt