Vuelta set for French start in 2017

Nîmes has reached an agreement to stage the start of the 2017 Vuelta a España cycling race, according to the French city’s Mayor Jean-Paul Fournier.

Talks between the two parties were revealed in February and the successful agreement of terms will mark only the third time that the Vuelta, one of cycling’s three ‘Grand Tours’, has commenced outside Spain.

“The Grand Depart of the 2017 will be held in Nîmes, it will be the first time (the race will start from France),” Fournier told l'Eaufficiel, a free newspaper distributed on the Tour de France, which concluded its 15th stage in Nîmes on Sunday. “It will start with a team time trial.”

The Vuelta first left Spain in 1997, travelling to Lisbon, Portugal that year before opening in the Dutch city of Assen in 2009. The 2014 Vuelta will start on August 23 in Jerez de la Frontera and finish in Santiago de Compostela three weeks later.