Organsiers have revealed details of the modified stages 15 and 16 ©Vuelta a Espana

Puebla de Sanabria and Salamanca will host stages 15 and 16 of the Vuelta a España after the coronavirus pandemic forced organisers to axe two days of racing in Portugal.

Organisers Unipublic announced last month that the route would have to be modified, as optimal race conditions cannot be guaranteed in Portugal due to the pandemic.

Stage 15 was due to reach its climax between Porto and Matosinhos, while stage 16 was intended to begin in Viseu.

The new plan for stage 15 is for riders to depart from the town of Mos and finish in the Zamoran municipality of Puebla de Sanabria.

The stage is expected to feature a hilly 234-kilometre route.

"Judging by the type of route and by the length of the stage, it will be a favourable day for escapes to take place," said Fernando Escartín, race technical director.

"It is a winding terrain and it’ll be difficult for the peloton to control those breakaways.

"Besides, contrary to what happened in 2016, this time Puebla de Sanabria will feature in the final week of the race, meaning teams will have much less energy."

Riders will continue climbing the following day with a 162km stage beginning in Salamanca.

The stage will maintain its finishing line in Ciudad Rodrigo.

"A first-category climb 30km from the finish line will create a natural selection of the peloton," Escartín said.

"It is likely that a reduced group, made up of 30 to 40 riders, will arrive together.

"The riders fighting for GC [general classification] will have to really concentrate, as a mistake so close to the end could cost them dearly."

Puebla de Sanabria and Salamanca have previously hosted the race, with the former serving as the finish of stage seven in the 2016 event, with Belgium’s Jonas van Genechten triumphing.

Salamanca has hosted 21 La Vuelta stage departures, with the most recent one being in 2018.

This year's Vuelta is now scheduled to run from October 20 to November 8.

The first five days overlap with the end of the Giro d’Italia.

The Vuelta was due to begin in The Netherlands, but the first three stages of the race were instead axed because of the pandemic.

This left the Grand Tour consisting of 18 stages this year.

No further modifications to the race are expected, according to Unipublic.