Vuelta a España 2022 route: everything you need to know about the stages of the 77th edition

A stage-by-stage guide to the route of the 2022 Vuelta a España

This year's Vuelta a España will cover a total distance of 3280.5 kilometres. It consists of one team time trial, one individual time trial, seven mountain stages, six flat stages, four intermediate stages and two flat stages with summit finishes, starting in Utrecht and finishing in the Spanish capital of Madrid.

In 2022, we will see the 77th edition of the Vuelta a España which begins on the 19th August with a flat team time trial on the wide roads of the Netherlands spanning 23.3 kilometres. After two flat stages which we can expect to finish in bunch sprints, we hit the race’s first race day on the August 22. It’s here when the peloton will fly to Spain for the fourth stage in the Basque country. The race will stay in the North of Spain with stages in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Inun, Bilbao, Camargo, Cistierna and Villaviciosa, most of which include the steep, sharp climbs which are synonymous with the area.

The second rest day of the Vuelta which will be used to travel down to the South coast with the tenth stage, a 30.9 kilometre individual time trial, finishing in the famous coastal city of Alicante. The time trial is flat and fast, which means it could spell danger for the pure climbers in the GC competition. In the final part of the time trial the riders will race along the coastline and potentially face crosswinds –extra care will need to be taken here.

It’s another expected sprint stage the following day before a summit finish on Peñas Blancas on stage 12. This will be one for the puncheurs and we can expect a fiery finale. There is one potential sprint opportunity on stage 13 before two mountainous stages in Sierra Nevada. The Hoya de la Mora climb is perhaps the most challenging aspect of these two stages, at 2550m above sea level it is one of the highest roads in Spain.

The final rest day of the race comes on the September 5 and a flat sprint stage follows. After that, though, the roads begin to go up once more for a summit finish on the Monasterio de Tentudía on stage 17, followed by three back-to-back mountain stages, the last of which includes three first category climbs. The sprinters will be relieved to have made it to Madrid for the final stage of the race. It’s a flat stage at just 96 kilometres long which we can expect to be contested by the fastest men in the peloton. 

Here’s our stage-by-stage guide to this August’s edition of La Vuelta a España 2022.

La Vuelta a España 2022 Route: The stages

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage one (19/08): Utrecht  >  Utrecht (23.3km)

Stage one of La Vuelta a España 2022 is a team time trial for the first time since 2019. The route around the Dutch city of Utrecht is flat and without any big technical difficulties. The main challenge for riders contesting the general classification here will be to get through the day safely – team time trials often end in crashes or mishaps, especially for the less-dialled squads. The red jersey is still up for grabs for the rider who crosses the finish line first from the winning team, though, so the stakes are high. 

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage two (20/08): 's-Hertogenbosch > Utrecht (175.1km)

‘s Hertogenbosch isn’t a town unfamiliar to the circus of Grand Tours. It hosted the Grand Départ of the Tour the France in 1996. In 2022, it will be home to the second day of the Vuelta a España: a 175.1 kilometre expected sprint stage. The only obstacle the fast men have to navigate is the Amerongse Berg, a 2.1km climb with an average gradient of 2.4%. It forms part of the Utrecht Hill Ridge which the peloton will follow all the way to the finish line in Utrecht Science Park. We are expecting to see a bunch finish here.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage three (21/08): Breda > Breda (193.2km)

Stage three is another day for the sprinters. It begins in Breda before an anti-clockwise loop leads the riders though the Noord-Brabant province. The stage finishes outside the Chassé Theatre in Breda and a large peloton is expected to contest the victory. The only obstacle for GC men today will be nerves in the bunch as they travel over wide, flat roads that are dissimilar to those used in the Vuelta before.

Travel day (22/08)

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage four (23/08): Vitoria-Gasteiz > Laguardia (152.5km)

As the peloton reaches Spain, the hillier terrain which is synonymous with the Vuelta a España returns. Stage four will play out on lumpy parcours including two KOM sprint points: the Puerto de Opakua (5 kilometres à 6.9%), and the Puerto de Herrera (7.3 kilometres at 4.8%).  The second of the two climbs comes with just under 15 kilometres to the finish and will put the fast men in difficulty, as will the finishing stretch itself. The final 800 metres of the stage have an average gradient of close to 10%, so today will suit the puncheurs.  

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage five (24/08): Irun > Bilbao (187.2km)

While the fifth stage of the race gets off to a relatively relaxed start, the last 90 kilometres are filled with punchy climbs. The first of which is the Alto de Gontzagarinaga which spans 6.5 kilometres at 4.5% average gradient. After little respite, the Balcón de Bizkaia and Alto de Morga climbs follow, lasting for 4.2 kilometres at 5.6% and 8.6 kilometres at 3.5% respectively. In the stage’s finale, the riders crest the Alto de Vivero twice in – the climb is 4.6 kilometres long and averages 8%, while the middle section is especially steep. After the last time over the Alto de Vivero there are 14 kilometres of the race remaining which are all downhill. We can expect to see a reduced bunch sprint to the line or a small breakaway group.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage six (25/08): Bilbao > Ascensión al Pico Jano. San Miguel de Aguayo (181.2km)

Stage six of the Vuelta a España 2022 is the first real test of the race for the GC contenders. The opening KOM sprint of the day is the second category Puerto de Alisas climb, while the next is the Collada de Brenes, a first category climb which comes just 35 kilometres before the finish. The finale of the stage is the finish up the Pico del Jano, a 12.6 kilometre climb averaging 6.6% gradient reaching a savage 14.9% in the last 600 metres. This could break the GC riders who are not having a good day, and we expect a breakaway to fight it out for the stage win.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage seven (26/08): Camargo > Cistierna (190km)

Beginning in Camargo, stage seven of the Vuelta a España 2022 gets off to a tame start, and the real drama will kick off as the riders hit the first category climb of the Puerto de San Glorio which is 22.4 kilometres long and averages 5.5%. From there, the route steadily descends for the remaining 65 kilometres to the finish in Cistierna. This stage is perfect for a breakaway, especially if the GC contenders are looking to save themselves for the tough mountain stages still to come.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage eight (27/08): La Pola Llaviana/Pola de Laviana > Colláu Fancuaya. Yernes y Tameza (153.4km)

With six categorised climbs, stage eight of the Vuelta a España 2022 is perhaps the most difficult of the race so far. Spare a thought for the grupetto as the stage opens with the Alto de la Colladona climb which is 6.4 kilometres long, averaging 7%. The  Alto de Mozqueta and Alto de Santo Emiliano climbs follow thick and fast until the fourth climb of the day, which is the Puerto de Tenebredo. It is 5.3km long with a section at 15.5% early on. The Perlavia is the penultimate climb of the day, lasting four kilometres at 7.7%. It is the Colláu Fancuaya which the organisers have chosen as the grand finale to this monster stage: the average gradient for this 10 kilometre climb is 8.5% and the final 700 metres go up to almost 11%.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage nine (28/08): Villaviciosa > Les Praeres. Nava (171.4km)

Another summit finish is the main talking point of stage nine of the Vuelta a España 2022, as the riders face the brutal Les Praeres climb in the final 4 kilometres to the finish. With an average gradient of 12.9% which kicks up to 16% in the first 2.2 kilometres, this is going to be a tough ending to the stage. It will sting even more after the four categorised climbs that the peloton will traverse before then – this stage sees barely a kilometre of flat road, it is up and down for the duration.

Rest day (29/08)

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage ten (30/08): Elche > Alicante (30.9km)

The riders are straight back into things after the race’s second rest day with a fast and furious individual time trial to the coastal city of Alicante. The route even goes slightly downhill in the opening 16 kilometres so we can expect to see eye wateringly fast speeds. The pure climbers won’t enjoy this stage as it will be about pushing big power numbers on the flatlands, especially if the wind is blowing as the riders traverse the Levante coastline in the final part of the stage.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage 11 (31/08): ElPozo Alimentación > Cabo de Gata (191.2km)

This is the Vuelta, so the organisers are hard pressed to find any completely flat sprint stages for the fast men, and the profile of stage 11 is about as good as it gets. The roads to the finish in Cabo de Gata are undulating and sometimes steep in sections, but the climbs shouldn’t be long enough to trouble the sprinters. This means we can expect a big group to make it to the finish line and it will be a day for each team to test their lead-out trains.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage 12 (01/09): Salobreña > Peñas Blancas. Estepona (192.7km)

This is the longest stage of the 2022 Vuelta a España and the early flatlands along the coast steadily build to a crescendo on the tough Peñas Blancas climb. Peñas Blancas is 19 kilometres long with an average gradient of 6.7%. The riders will begin at sea level and climb to an elevation of 1,270 metres. We can expect to see gaps in the fight for the overall general classification here, and it will be a real test of who can tackle the long, unrelenting gradients. Leopold König won on Peñas Blancas the last time the Vuelta passed the climb back in 2013.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage 13 (02/09): Ronda > Montilla (168.4km)

Stage 13 is a reward for the sprinters who have made it to this point in the race. Although not pan flat, the roads to Montilla never kick up to the steep gradients seen in previous stages of the race and the climbs are relatively short. This means we can expect a bunch sprint to the finish line on a road which is slightly uphill. Sprinters will have to be wary not to time their efforts wrong on a tough sprint like this one, leaving it later seems to be the smartest option.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage 14 (03/09): Montoro > Sierra de La Pandera (106.3km)

Yet another summit finish takes place on stage 14 of the Vuelta a España. The peloton will ride on mainly flat roads towards La Pandera, the finishing climb. The second third of the stage is mostly climbing, with the first peak of the day, the Puerto de Siete Pililla, reached after a 9.9 kilometres climb with an average gradient of 3.5%. A descent leads the peloton to two climbs: the first a 1.6 kilometres climb at 6.9% and the second a 4 kilometre climb at 4.7%. With 22.5 kilometres remaining the peloton hit the first part of the final climb: 10.4 kilometres at 5.5% average gradient and then a section of flat in the last 8.4 kilometres rise at an average gradient of 7.8% to the line. The final kilometre begins with a descent before the road kicks up again to the finish.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage 15 (04/09): Martos > Sierra Nevada. Alto Hoya de la Mora. Monachil (149.6km)

With over 4000 metres of climbing in total, it’s fair to say that this is a pure mountain stage. After undulating terrain in the opening section of the route, it is in the last 50 kilometres that things really light up. It starts with the Alto del Purche, a 9.1 kilometres climb with an average gradient of 7.6%, then the penultimate climb of the day is the Alto de Hazallanas, a 7.3 kilometre climb with an average gradient of 9.8%. Once the riders reach the top of this, they continue to climb into Sierra Nevada to reach the Alto Hoya de la Mora, a 12 kilometre climb averaging 6.8%. The hot weather in this area will also be a talking point of this stage, those who cope with it well will have a much better chance of conquering the mountain.

REST DAY (05/09)

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage 16 (06/09): Sanlúcar de Barrameda > Tomares (189.4km)

After the final rest day of the race, the riders will face a rolling stage to Tomares which could be a day for the sprinters. The only thing that could trouble the fast men in the peloton is a short climb with 10 kilometres to go which lasts for 1.5 kilometres and averages a 6.1%.gradient. From then, the finish is slightly downhill so we can expect high-speeds in the run-in to the line. Matteo Trentin was victorious here in 2017, proving that this is terrain for the fastest riders in the peloton who can also make it over a few punchy climbs on the way to the line.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage 17 (07/09): Aracena > Monasterio de Tentudía (162.3km)

It didn’t take the route planners long to fall back into old ways, as they have thrown in another summit finish on stage 17 of the race. It’s a day which could favour the opportunistic breakaway men as it is rolling with climbs that are tough enough to drop sprinters but not hard enough to be of interest to the GC contenders. In the finale, the riders will climb up to the Montasterio de Tentudía. It’s a 10.3km climb to the top averaging a 5% average gradient while the opening two kilometres and final four kilometres tip over 7%.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage 18 (08/09): Trujillo > Alto de Piornal (192km)

The first in a trio of finishing mountain stages, stage 18 is set to be a tough day out for the riders. While the opening 90 kilometres are rolling, things really kick up in the second half of the stage, starting with the second category Alto de la Desperá, a 3.7km long climb at 9.4% average gradient. The next climb is the Alto de Piornal which is much longer at 13.5km, it averages 5% but kicks up to 12% in places. The finishing climb is 13,3 kilometres at 5.6% and will be a difficult test for the riders with all of the elevation gain already in their legs.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage 19 (09/09): Talavera de la Reina > Talavera de la Reina (138.3km)

Stage 19 of the race features two laps of a circuit around Talavera de la Reina, both of which include the Puerto de Piélago climb. It averages 5.6% gradient over the 9.3km long climb, but there are two downhills within the climb itself which could give riders a little respite. At the top of the climb the riders will face an undulating section until they reach 10 kilometres to go where the road flattens out. Riders who can get over climbs but have a top finishing speed will perform well here, especially if the two ascents of Puerto de Piélago don’t see many aggressive attacks.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage 20 (10/09): Moralzarzal > Puerto de Navacerrada (181km)

The final mountain stage of the race comes on the penultimate day of the Vuelta a España 2022, and the organisers have saved some of the toughest climbs for this stage. There are five KOM points, the first of which is the Puerto de Navacerrada. The riders also finish up this climb, but they will ride up a different side the first time round. The Puerto de Navafria follows which is 9.8km at 5.5%, then they will face the Puerto de Canencia which is 7.5 kilometres long at 4.9% average gradient. Three categorised climbs are thrown in to the last 50 kilometres of the race, with the penultimate Puerto de la Morcuera perhaps the toughest of them all. It is a 9.4 kilometre climb with an average gradient of 6.9%. The finale is the Puerto de Cotos climb which is 10.3 kilometres at 6.9%. The riders reach the summit of this climb with 6.7 kilometres to go to the finish line. They will then face a false-flat run-into the line as they return to the summit Puerto de Navacerrada once more.

La Vuelta a España 2022 stage 21 (11/09): Las Rozas > Madrid. Paisaje de la Luz (96.7km)

Perhaps taking inspiration from the famed Champs-Élysées finish at the Tour de France, the final stage of this year’s Vuelta a España will conclude on a 5.8km circuit in Madrid's city centre. The sprinters who have battled over the mountains will want to make sure that it was worth their effort here, so they will have all guns blazing for a stage win. The final run-in to the line is slightly uphill so timing and a good lead-out train will be imperative on this stage.