Javier Guillén: "A Vuelta of remarkable high, almost outstanding"

Javier Guillén (Madrid, 49 years old) finished La Vuelta 2021 satisfied. Without health problems and with a great sporting show, he reviewed with AS the edition that ended this Sunday in Santiago and the challenges for the near future.

What balance do you make of La Vuelta 2021?

Very satisfying. First, from a health point of view, since after 23 days of racing there were no positives. With a big winner, Primoz Roglic, who is among the two or three best in the world in stage races. There were days to remember. And something very important for us, perhaps the most exciting thing, that we get the public back. A note? I would not put the registration or the outstanding, that’s what you should always aspire to, but a remarkable very high, almost outstanding.

Regarding the route, the penultimate stage of Mos caught our attention, a great success.

We had a script. We wanted a penultimate stage that could decide things and changed the podium. We did not want high mountains since we came from Asturias (Lagos and Gamoniteiro). It seemed repetitive to us. But I do not agree that this Vuelta was different, it had the same ingredients that we tried to gather in previous editions. Maybe it was a first week, let’s call him nicer, because we believed that the Tour and the Games were going to influence the riders who wanted to come. But I think the whole has worked.

That first week, with more flat stages, it was criticized as boring.

La Vuelta is accused of a deficit in sprint stages, as proposals have been made. It is not for me to assess how the cyclists interpreted those stages, but to accommodate all types of riders. When you want to stage sprinting, you run the risk of this happening. I do not blame the peloton at all, I am delighted by their attitude, including that of those stages.

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Miguel Ángel López apologized after his abandonment, among others affected, to La Vuelta. Are your apologies accepted?

Yes, they are accepted because you have requested them, but we do not go into assessing a race situation between a rider and his team.

The green jersey scoring change worked.

It was what we were looking for. That the leader of the general did not always win. It went well and was won by Jakobsen, one of the great joys of this Vuelta.

Are you worried that there would be no Spanish triumphs?

Spanish cycling needs to be at the top, but it will be necessary to see if this is due to something circumstantial or is something long-term. The globalization of cycling has brought extraordinary competition and Spanish cycling should demand more. It seems that at the base there are runners like Juan Ayuso, Carlos Rodríguez, etc … which indicates that we will once again have great champions. As director of La Vuelta? I want the best to win, regardless of the country. How Spanish and leader? I wish there were triumphs, sure, but I don’t see it as something dramatic or worrisome.

Would you like to have more invitations?

We have always said it and we have not hidden. We are in favor of a smaller World Tour, having more invitations or that non-World Tour teams have more options, but it is something to discuss, among others, with the International Cycling Union, and make a calm decision among all.

In 2022, the Netherlands. By when the Canary Islands?

The departure from Utrecht is exciting. It means recovering something, in addition to the fact of taking the race to such an amateur country and with so many ties to Spain. Canary Islands? It was working well before the pandemic … It is a reality that we must tackle in the next four or six years.

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