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That’s not the length of one of the many climbs in the 2022 Vuelta a España, but the distance of the advertising barriers skirting the race’s key points.
Numbers put out by Vuelta organizers Unipublic reveal a new dimension to this year’s race for the red jersey.
Despite being seen as the smallest of the season’s three grand tours, the logistical burden of carrying a race around two countries is immense.
Also read: Essential preview to the Vuelta a España
A huge 400 tonnes of material is transported across two countries for each stage. More than four kilometers of start and finish barriers keep crowds at bay after race staff spend five hours installing each stage’s finish line.
Eight thousand security officers will be on the beat as the Vuelta pedals through 3,280km of Dutch and Spanish asphalt in the next month. They’re going to guard 550 team soigneurs, medics, nutritionists and directors managing a total of 184 riders racing through 21 gruelling stages.
Five ambulances, one field hospital, and one COVID unit will help keep those nine-score athletes healthy in what is typically the hottest and attritional grand tour of the year.
In the shadow of the Tour de France
The Vuelta a España lacks the deep history of the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France, and its late-summer scheduling can see audience appetites dwindle.
Numbers put out by ASO about the Tour earlier this summer show the difference in stark contrast (with all the usual caveats about how the numbers are collected).
Also read: The numbers behind the Tour de France
ASO forecasted some 14.5 million unique visitors to its website during the Tour de France, but just 3.7 million are predicted to load up LaVuelta.es. Likewise, the Tour’s social media pages boast more than nine million followers, whereas the Vuelta draws just a fraction of at 1.4 million.
The difference in national and international interest is also seen in the staffing.
Eight thousand security agents and 80 police officers working the Vuelta? Pah! 28,000 security and safety officials monitor racers, VIPs, host venues, and all the huge hoopla of the Tour de France.
Just 133 people inhabit the tiny Asturian enclave of Yernes Y Tameza which hosts the finish of the Vuelta’s eighth stage. The Tour de France VIP start village probably covers similar acreage.
But don’t let the numbers do the Vuelta down.
Spain’s tour has the reputation for being the most aggressive and unpredictable three-weeker of the season, and a deep startlist leaves the race for the maillot rojo wide open.
The 2022 Vuelta a España rolls out of Utrecht on Friday, and VeloNews will be among the 600 reporters expected to be at the race.