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Cycling: Vuelta cancels stages in Portugal amid COVID-19 crisis

PARIS (Reuters) - This year’s Tour of Spain will not go through Portugal as planned because of the COVID-19 crisis, organisers said on Saturday.

“Due to the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 crisis and given the impossibility of guaranteeing optimal conditions for the smooth passage of the race in the country, the municipalities of Porto, Matosinhos and Viseu, in agreement with Unipublic, organisers of La Vuelta, have decided to cancel the passage of La Vuelta 20 in Portugal,” Unipublic said in a statement.

The start of the race was postponed from Aug. 14 to Oct. 20 with the opening three stages in the Netherlands cancelled because of the COVID-19 situation.

The 15th and 16th stages were due to go through Portugal.

Organisers said they were working on an alternative route in Spain, adding that the schedule would not be modified again.

As a result, the Vuelta will have only one section outside the borders of Spain when the ninth stage ends up at the top of the iconic Col du Tourmalet in France.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond

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