By Wendy Williams

SEVILLA is set to host the first stage of this year’s Vuelta a España bike race.

And to mark the 75th anniversary of the race, organisers have included a special twist as the first stage will be a team time trail held at night.

The event, held on Saturday 28 August, will begin near the La Maestranza bullring at 10pm with organisers expecting the 14 km stage to finish just before midnight.

Then on Sunday, for the second stage of the three-week race, the peloton will travel across Sevilla, Cadiz and Malaga as they make the 173km journey from Alcalá de Guadaíra through Ronda downhill to Marbella.

Due to the late start on Saturday, and to give the riders a bit of time to recuperate, stage two will begin at 1.30pm.

Although Spanish rider Alberto Contador will not be racing following his victory in the Tour de France, the Vuelta has attracted some big names from the cycling world including Carlos Sastre, the Schleck brothers, and British rider Mark Cavendish.

And this year’s favourite to win the race when it comes to an end on 19 September in Madrid, is Russian cyclist Denis Menchov, who recently came third in the Tour de France and has won the Vuelta a España twice before.

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