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Vuelta boss: Shorter race absolutely impossible

Comments from UCI president Brian Cookson over the weekend that the Vuelta a España might be reduced to two weeks caught officials from the Spanish grand tour by surprise. Speaking to the Spanish website cyclo21, Vuelta director Javier Guillén said Monday there are no plans to reduce the Vuelta from three to two weeks.

“We absolutely rule out that possibility,” Guillén said of trimming the Vuelta to two weeks. “And it would be a big mistake, because the Vuelta is the race on the international calendar that’s truly grown over the past few years.”

In an interview with La Gazzetta della Sport, Cookson said the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France would stay at three weeks, but added “it would not surprise me to see a two-week Vuelta.”

Guillén countered those comments, saying there are no plans to reduce the Vuelta to two weeks, a move that would cause the race to lose its grand tour designation. “We are not in agreement with those declarations,” Guillén said. “The right of the dates of the Vuelta is a historic right going back 80 years, and, of course, the decision would lie with the owners of the race, which is ASO.”

Guillén said he backs talks between the UCI and ASO, which is threatening to pull its quiver of races out of the WorldTour in 2017, which includes the Tour, Vuelta, Paris-Nice and several one-day races. He also denied the suggestion that trimming the Vuelta to two weeks is a negotiating ploy.

“That is something that is not on the table,” Guillén said. “We would not offer that [reducing the Vuelta] at any time or under any circumstances.”