website of La Vuelta
the cycling zone
la Vuelta a España, 2014 - climbs to glory
la Vuelta a España, 2013 - race to the summits
watching the Tour
Tour 2: preparing to watch the Tour
Tour 3: the Great Day arrives
4: preparing to watch a mountain stage
the Tour de France 2016
the 2016 Giro d’Italia
and St George
gaudí: architecture in barcelona
família, the architecture of antoni gaudí
the spanish vuelta
this year’s race
the race map
la vuelta race teams
new year, new jerseys
a select dictionary
The third of the
trio of major Tour-type
cycle races starts on 20 August 2011, at Benidorm.
British cyclists take second and third places.
- ESP COBO, J. GEO 84:59:31
- GBR FROOME, C. SKY at 13
- GBR WIGGINS, B. SKY at 1:39
- NED MOLLEMA, B. RAB at 2:03
- RUS MENCHOV, D. GEO at 3:48
- BEL MONFORT, M. LEO at 4:13
- ITA NIBALI, V. LIQ at 4:31
- BEL VAN DEN BROECK, J. OLO at 4:45
- ESP MORENO, D. KAT at 5:20
For more result details, go to
the official web site.
This year is going to be a climber’s race, so the
stages are strangely discontinuous in order to include
lots of mountain cycling. There will be six mountain top
- Sierra Nevada, stage 4 - 2,126 m
- San Lorenzo de El Escorial, stage 8 - 1,115 m
- Sierra de Bejar. La Covatilla, stage 9 - 1,970 m
- Alto de la Manzaneda, stage 11 - 1,760 m
- La Farrapona, stage 14 - 1,708 m. La Farrapona climbs
for 18.7 km at 5.7% average gradient, with 12% ramps.
- l’Anglirú, stage 15 - 1,560 m. L’Angliru
is 12.6 km long, and has an average gradient of over
10 %, with the maximum being 23 % near the summit.
Other fierce slopes include Puerto de Ancares on the
13th stage, reaching 1110 m in merely12 km, with gradients
averaging 12.5% and a maximum at 20%! And note that on
stage’s route listing, after going over the
Puerto de Ancares pass, the entry reads, “Descenso
rapido con curvas. Precaución ” - Rapid decent
with with bends. Careful.
Of course, this climber’s race is especially suited
to Spanish riders, such as Alberto Contador [ed.: not
participating after all], Ezequiel Mosquera and Samuel
Sanchez, who specialise in the hard, uphill grinds.
For the first time since 1978, the race will pass through
some of the Basque
Country, on Spain’s northern coast, including
a stage finish and a stage start at Bilbao.
The last foray to this region was a disaster with two
stages being cancelled. Basque separatists barricaded
and blocked the route, including scattering drawing pins
on the road. The protesters also threw sand into the eyes
Watching the Vuelta in Spain is very similar to watching
the Tour in France. abelard.org
has several pages giving general advice on how to be a
effective road-side spectator.
In the hot southern countryside, there are long stretches
empty of anything except lovely semi-desert landscape.
Occasionally, there maybe one person sheltering from the
belting sun under a tree, even on climbs where in France
the way would be seething with fêting followers.
The crowding is often far less oppressive, or exciting
according to your taste.
watching on tv
Watch the Vuelta on Eurosport UK [schedule]
and on ITV4 [schedule].
Both these UK-based channels are providing about three
hours broadcast every afternoon when there is racing.
the .kmz file from here. [Courtesy of arcadiaservices.nl]
- Open this file in Google Earth.
- Copy from Temporary Places to My Places [right click
for menu, and choose Copy to My Places]
- Paths shows the stages.
Double click on a stage for enlargement showing names
Double click on a Stage in Rides folder for helicopter
ride of route. Click on double arrow >> to increase
speed of flight.
- Use the dropdown menu to go to current day’s
To navigate, use grey tabs a bit down the page:
- For wider information, use the black tabs at the
top of the page:
- To look at the overall standings while a stage is
taking place, click on the STANDINGS tab, then use the
dropdown to go to the previous
- While the current stage is taking place, there is
an animation, updated every sixty seconds, in a separate
smaller browser widow. It shows both breakaway and peleton
dispositions, as well as where the day’s race
has reached on the stage’s profile. At the bottom
of the window are regularly updated, blog-type reports.
This service is available during all of the day’s
stage, including prior to the TV broadcasts, which tend
to start about half way through the day’s stage.
Clicking on a rider’s name will open a small note
on the rider’s overall position, and a few other
I love watching the little cyclists pedalling. They’re
even wearing an approximation of the different jerseys.
You reach the Vuelta Live display thus - HOME black
tab (which, of course, turns red when clicked on),
then LIVE grey tab (which turns black!), then click
on the link indicated by the small red arrow.
[If Adobe Flash Player 10.3.183.7 is not already installed
on your computer, the Dinamic [sic.] Route Summary box
will instruct you to install the necessary software.
This is a two-stage process: first, you download and
save [best on the desktop] the small installer program,
then you run that installer program [click on the icon
on your desktop]. The instructions provided in your
browser are comprehensive, but you need to close the
browser to effectuate the installation!]
This year, La Vuelta is 3,295 km long. It comprises:
- There are 21 stages.
- 9 flat stages
- 9 mountain stages
- 4 medium medium stages
- 6 summit finishes
- 1 14 km team time-trial stage
- 1 40 km individual time-trial stage
- 2 rest days.
new year, new jerseys
The race leader’s jersey
The points jersey
The other two jerseys are
best climber’s jersey. Above:
best all-rounder’s jersey.
- In Spanish, domestiques
are called gregarios.
- The hardest day’s cycling is called la etapa
- An uphill time trial is el chrono-escalada.
in Spanish is pájara.
- There is also a Vuelta climb known as Pajares between
León and Ovedo.
- A chuparruedas is a wheel
For much more on cycling
The following is an exceeding boring book, almost like
reading a telephone directory. It has notes on all previous
runnings of the Vuelta. But in among the addresses and
telephone numbers, you will discover all manner of hints
on cycling tactics, with interposed examples of dubious
practice and cheating. You will also find snippets on
the disturbed political background of Spain, from right
back to the Civil War and the Franco regime and up until
modern times, against which the Vuelta has been held,
or not held.
Viva La Vuelta!:
The Story of Spain's Great Bike Race
by Lucy Fallon and Adrian Bell (foreword by Sean
Mousehold Press, pbk, 2005