Cycling: Nine mountain challenges await Vuelta riders

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Complaints from many riders that the Vuelta a Espana has included too many punishing climbs in recent years fell on deaf ears as organizers unveiled another demanding route on Thursday featuring nine mountain finishes.

While the opening stage will take place outside Spain for only the third time, with riders setting off in Nimes, France, on Aug. 19, other aspects of the three-week race will concern those taking part.

With Movistar's Nairo Quintana not expected to defend his title, Team Sky rider Chris Froome could finally land his first Vuelta victory having finished second in 2011, 2014 and 2016.

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