The 2014 Vuelta a España will finish with a 10km individual time trial in the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela, organizers announced on Saturday.
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 around.
“Everyone knows what they are getting with the Vuelta a España,” said director Javier Guillen.
“It is not as hard as on other occasions, but with even more excitement, with shorter and more nervous stages.
“Although we like the mountains a lot, we can’t undermine the race in general.”
The 69th edition of La Vuelta begins with a team time trial on August 23 and will encompass 21 stages before finishing on September 14 in the famous pilgrim city in northwestern Spain.
However, the race is likely to be decided on eight grueling mountain finishes, with three in consecutive days on stages 14, 15 and 16.
There will be one further individual time trial on stage 10 after the first rest day. A second rest day falls between stages 16 and 17, on the final Tuesday of the three-week race.
Alberto Contador, who will be in search of a third Vuelta victory after missing last year’s race, welcomed the slightly less demanding route.
“It is a very nice and interesting route with some strong mountain finishes, which are always quite exciting for the spectators,” he said.
“I like it, I think it is quite balanced and I can only say that I will see you all on August 23 in Jerez.”
Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez have also already signaled their intent to participate in the race, which American Chris Horner won last year
However, with the world championships also due to take place in Ponferrada, Spain, less than two weeks after the finish in Compostela, the race could attract an even stronger field than in recent years.
The route of the 2014 Vuelta a España
Stage 1, Saturday, August 23: Jerez de la Frontera, 12.6km team time trial
Stage 2, Sunday, August 24: Algeciras to San Fernando, 174.4km
Stage 3, Monday, August 25: Cadiz to Arcos de la Frontera, 188km
Stage 4, Tuesday, August 26: Mairena del Alcor to Cordoba, 172.6km
Stage 5, Wednesday, August 27: Priego de Cordoba to Ronda, 182.3km
Stage 6, Thursday August 28: Benalmadena to La Zubia, 157.7km
Stage 7, Friday, August 29: Alhendin to Alcaudete, 165.4km
Stage 8, Saturday, August 30: Baeza to Albacete, 207.4km
Stage 9, Sunday, August 31: Carboneras de Guadazon to Aramon Valdelinares, 181km
Rest day, Monday, September 1
Stage 10, Tuesday, September 2: Monasterio de Veruela to Borja, 34.5km individual time trial
Stage 11, Wednesday, September 3: Pamplona to San Miguel de Aralar, 151km
Stage 12, Thursday, September 4: Logrono to Logrono, 168km
Stage 13, Friday, September 5: Belorado to Obregon, 182km
Stage 14, Saturday, September 6: Santander to La Camperona, 199km
Stage 15, Sunday, September 7: Oviedo to Lagos de Covadonga, 149km
Stage 16, Monday, September 8: San Martin del Rey Aurelio to La Farrapona, 158.8km
Rest day, Tuesday, September 9
Stage 17, Wednesday, September 10: Ortigueira to A Corua, 174 km
Stage 18, Thursday, September 11: A Estrada to Monte Castrove en Meis, 173.5 km
Stage 19, Friday, September 12: Salvaterra de Mio to Cangas do Morrazo, 176.5 km
Stage 20, Saturday, September 13: Santa Estebo de Ribas do Sil to Ancares, 163.8km
Stage 21, Sunday, September 14: Santiago de Compostela, 10km individual time trial