Coronavirus: Vuelta a Espana cancels plans for stages in Portugal

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This year's Vuelta a Espana will no longer hold two of its stages in Portugal due to the coronavirus crisis.

Stages 15 and 16 were originally due to take place across the cities of Porto, Matosinhos and Viseu but will now be held in Spain as part of an alternative route.

The Vuelta announced on Saturday the decision had been taken "due to the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 crisis".

It added it had proven impossible to guarantee "optimal conditions for the smooth passage of the race in the country". 

"The municipalities of Porto, Matosinhos and Viseu, in agreement with Unipublic, organisers of La Vuelta, have decided to cancel the passage of La Vuelta 20 in Portugal," read a statement on the race's official website.

Last month, plans to hold the first three stages of the race in the Netherlands were scrapped.

The start date was also postponed from August 14 to October 20 to accommodate a two-month delay to the Tour de France, meaning the Vuelta will overlap with the rescheduled Giro d'Italia.

Organisers said there will be no more alterations after the decision not to travel through Portugal.

The only section of the race outside of Spain that remains comes in stage nine, which finishes atop the Col du Tourmalet in France.