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The Vuelta a España 2009 starts in The Netherlands ... in Assen!

Added: tuesday 18 December 2007 at 17:41:00
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    The Vuelta a Espa&ntildea 2009 starts in The Netherlands ... in Assen!On 5 December, Unipublic - the Vuelta a España organisor, announced the track and stages of the Vuelta 2008. In addition to the announcement of the stages of next year's Tour of Spain the organisor also confirmed where the 64th edition will start in 2009: that'll be in Assen in The Netherlands!

    Indeed, following the start of the Giro d'Italia in Groningen) in 2002 Dick Heuvelman, the initiator of this start - also known as Gironingen - contacted the Vuelta organisor at the end of 2002 in Valencia about the organisation of a Vuelta start in Groningen. The answer he got at that time was a simple "no" since Spanish cities have always been prefered for the Tour of Spain start.

    That's probably why there's only been one non-Spanish start of the Vuelta before: the 1997 start from Lisbon.

    Heuvelman didn't give up that easily and seized all occasions to continue his discussions with the Spanish organisation (for example during the World Chapmpionships in Madrid in 2005). When the Vuelta direction changed last year he got some good news since the new direction for the first time showed a real interest in a start in Groningen.
    He must have been disappointed when he got to know that, due to a financial loss after the Giro start in 2002, the city of Groningen was no longer interested in such a start.

    Fortunately the Dutch Province of Drenthe (one of the twelve provinces which together form The Netherlands) and especially its Royal Commissioner and cycling enthusiast, Relus Ter Beek, contacted him in the mean time and showed its interest to organise a Tour de France start. Since Utrecht and Rotterdam both have been trying for years already to convince the Tour de France organisor to organise a Grand Départ in their city, Heuvelman decided to propose the Vuelta start to Drenthe instead and that's how the Vuelta 2009 start will end up in Assen, Drenthe's capital city (and not Aspen as the French newspaper L'Equipe writes).

    At the end of March 2007 Abraham Olano, a former cyclist who now works for the Vuelta organisation to define the Vuelta stages, visited Drenthe and since two weeks it's now official that this Dutch province will organise the Vuelta start!
    The reasons for this choice include the modern TT motor circuit Assen proposes and the planned extension of the Groningen Airport Eelde (this will allow the whole organisation to come to the start in an easy way).

    The organisation committee for this Dutch start is among others composed of the Royal Commissioner of Drenthe, Relus ter Beek, Drenthe's deputy of sports, Anneke Haarsma, the Member of Parliament for the Dutch party CDA and former president of the Dutch cycling union, Joop Atsma and the CEO of TVM insurances, Arjan Bos. Jos Vaessen, the current president of the TT in Assen (until the end of this year) presides this committee.

    The prologue and 3 stages in The Netherlands

    circuit TT AssenThe Tour of Spain 2009 prologue will be on the Dutch TT / Moto GP circuit and the city center of Assen on Saturday 29 August 2009.

    The next day the second stage will start in Assen and go to Emmen (still in the province of Drenthe in the north-east of the country).

    On Monday 31 August 2009 there will be a stage which finishes in Venlo in Limburg (south-east) but for which the start city is still unknown. This start city will probably be somewhere in the triangle around Apeldoorn/Zutphen/Deventer (in the province of Gelderland for the first two cities and Overijssel for Deventer).

    The last stage in The Netherlands will be the fourth stage which will start from Venlo on Tuesday September 1st, 2009 and will finish in Liège in Belgium.

    The riders and (some of) their followers will then take a plane to Spain where they'll continue this Tour of Spain which will be a little bit more international than usual ...

    Events around the start

    Of course Assen will organise several events around the Vuelta 2009 start ... Jos Vaessen, the organisation committee's president, said some time ago that he will do all he can so the whole population will be concerned and to do so he proposed for example to organise a TT night the night before the prologue or for example a concert on the circuit. To do this he asked local companies and local politics for help.

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Vuelta a España| Cycling general (except Tour de France)| Vuelta a España 2009 | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati


Currently 3 comments!
  1. we went to Groningen for the Giro and will be here next year...
    If Assen is half as good it will be great!!

    | paul | monday 28 July 2008 at 0:24:15

  2. Nous disposons d'un Bed&Breakfast "LA PICTERIE" à Haccourt, afin de mieux suivre la Vuelta 2009. Bien sûr nous sommes aussi des passionné de course cycliste. A bientôt !

    | Jean Lemaire La Picoterie | monday 29 June 2009 at 14:29:35

  3. Master who's discussing about bag and explanation why you ought to worry.

    | 12?? | tuesday 19 August 2014 at 6:13:17

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