Monaco to host grand departure of La Vuelta 2026

Monaco will host the Grand Departure of La Vuelta 2026, marking another international start for the renowned Spanish tour. The announcement was made official at the Yacht Club de Monaco, where an agreement was signed by H.E. M. Pierre Dartout, Minister of State of Monaco, Yann Le Moenner, C.E.O. of Amaury Sport Organisation, and Javier Guillén, General Director of La Vuelta. The event was attended by H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco.

The inaugural stage of the 81st edition of La Vuelta will take place entirely within Monaco’s territory. The Principality will also host the start of the second stage, although further details on subsequent stages are yet to be confirmed. Javier Guillén remarked, “We are thrilled to bring La Vuelta to Monaco, a place with a rich history in hosting prestigious sporting events.”

Monaco is no stranger to high-profile cycling events, having previously hosted the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2009. The French Tour will return to the Principality in 2024, with Monaco hosting the final time-trial that will link the city-state to Nice. Yann Le Moenner commented on Monaco’s selection, stating, “Monaco’s experience and enthusiasm for cycling make it the perfect location for La Vuelta’s Grand Departure.”

The decision follows a tradition of international starts for La Vuelta, with previous Grand Departures taking place in Lisbon (1997), Assen (2009), Nîmes (2017), and Utrecht (2022). The 2024 edition will begin in Lisbon, Portugal, with subsequent stages in Oeiras and Cascais before returning to Spain for stage 4.

Monaco has a reputation for hosting significant international events, such as the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix and the Festival Internacional du Cirque de Monte-Carlo. These events attract global attention and showcase Monaco’s ability to host large-scale sporting spectacles. H.E. M. Pierre Dartout expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “Hosting La Vuelta’s Grand Departure is a testament to Monaco’s commitment to promoting cycling and sports tourism.”

In 2026, the opening stage of La Vuelta will be a significant event for both the race and the Principality. With Monaco’s history and infrastructure, the stage is expected to draw considerable attention. While the exact nature of the stage is yet to be disclosed, the 2009 Tour de France Grand Départ in Monaco featured a 15.5km individual time trial, which could hint at a similar format for La Vuelta.

As preparations begin, the cycling community eagerly anticipates more details about the stages and the challenges they will bring. The collaboration between Monaco and La Vuelta organisers promises an exciting start to the 2026 race, further cementing Monaco’s status as a premier destination for world-class cycling events.

Main photo credit: Manuel Vitali