website of La Vuelta
tactics and glossary
the cycling zone
la Vuelta a España, 2014 - climbs to glory
la Vuelta a España, 2013 - race to the summits
La Vuelta a Espana, 2012 - climber's paradise
race - La Vuelta a Espana 2011
Espana, 2010 - an eco-tour
watching the Tour
Tour 2: preparing to watch the Tour
Tour 3: the Great Day arrives
4: preparing to watch a mountain stage
Tour de France 2013 - the route is announced
the 2013 giro d’italia - the fight for pink!
and St George
was not a fascist
the spanish vuelta
this year’s race
first week - short report
2012 race favourites
the race map
la vuelta race teams
a select dictionary
The third of the
trio of major Tour-type
cycle races starts on 18 August 2012, at Pamplona, the
capital of Spanish Basqueland.
This year, La Vuelta is 3,300 km long. It comprises:
- 21 stages
- 6 flat stages
- 5 mountain stages
- 6 summit finishes
- 37 mountain passes and hills
- 5 medium mountain stages
- a 16 km team time-trial stage
- a 30 km individual time-trial stage
- 2 rest days
Perhaps strangely, or perhaps not so considering Spain’s economic problems, the most southerly point of this year’s Vuelta a Espagna will be Madrid. Other theories for the stage choices are saving the riders and spectators from the worst of the grinding Spanish summer heat, or making a race that does not suit Bradley Wiggins, unlike this year’s Tour de France.
However, the perponderance of mountain stages and finishes looks to be tailor-made for Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez. As he commented, “The first part of the Vuelta is where you don’t want to lose the race, the second part is where you will win it”. Another Spanish rider will also be satisfied with this years route, Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel
– Euskadi), for whom the 40 km time trial should be the only nuisance.
The Vuelta criss-crosses the Pyrenees, including a visit into the Principality of Andorra, finishing the first part at Barcelona. A flight to the north-west coast enables the wealthier Basque regions to be explored, before ending up at Spain’s capital, Madrid.
The seventh stage, from Huesca to Alcañiz, finishes at the Circuito de Alcani, also known as Motorland Aragón. This race track, 5.3 km long, is usually used by motorbikes and racing cars.
first week - short report
After 11 of 21 stages, the Vuelta is down to four possible winners - but all the serious climbing is ahead.
||40h 26' 15''
2012 race favourites
Most of the big names are not riding in this year’s Vuelta, preferring to concentrate their efforts on the recent Tour de France and the UCI road cycling World Championship to come in September.
Juan Jose Cobo, defending Vuelta champion, is the lead rider of Spanish-based Movistar team.
Joaquin Oliver Rodriguez, second in this year’s Giro d’Italia and points jersey winner, leads the Katusha Team. Chris Froome will lead Team Sky, Bradley Wiggins not particiating after his successes in the TDF and the London Olympics. Froome was second overall in the Vuelta last year, and again in the Tour de France this year, as well as winning the Bronze Medal in the 2012 Olympics road race.
‘El Pistolero’, Alberto Contador (Vuelta winner in 2008), returns from his suspension to lead the Saxo Bank team. He will be the red hot favourite in this race that is designed to favour climbers. Alejandro Valverde [Moviestar], also banned for two years, appears to have returned strong. He was first in the 2009 Vuelta.
A complete list of competitors (and team jerseys) is available on the official Vuelta web site.
|flat - on the plain medium mountains mountains rest day
18 August [16.2 km]
|| Vilagarcía de Arousa > Dumbría. Mirador de Ézaro
30 August [184.6 km]
19 August [180.0 km]
||Santiago de Compostela > Ferrol
31 August [172.7 km]
||Faustino V > Eibar (Arrate)
20 August [153.0 km]
||Palas de Rei > Puerto de Ancares
1 September [152.0 km]
||Barakaldo > Estación de Valdezcaray
21 August [155.4 km]
||La Robla > Lagos de Covadonga
2 September [186.7 km]
||Logroño > Logroño
22 August [172.0 km]
||Gijón > Valgrande-Pajares. Cuitu Negru
3 September [185.0 km]
||Tarazona > Jaca
23 August [174.8 km]
4 September - rest day
||Huesca > Alcañiz. Motorland Aragón
24 August [160.0 km]
||Santander > Fuente Dé
5 September [177.0 km]
Lleida > Andorra. Collada de la Gallina
25 August [175.0 km]
||Aguilar de Campoo > Valladolid
6 September [186.4 km]
||Andorra > Barcelona
26 August [194.0 km]
||Peñafiel > La Lastrilla
7 September [169.0 km]
|| 27 August
- rest day
||La Faisanera Golf. Segovia 21 > Bola del Mundo
8 September [169.5 km]
|| Ponteareas > Sanxenxo
28 August [166.4 km]
||Cercedilla > Madrid
9 September [111.9 km]
||Cambados > Pontevedra
29 August [40.0 km]
individual time trial
itineraries of each day [from dropdown menu]
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.
watching on tv
Watch the Vuelta on Eurosport UK [schedule]. Eurosport will be providing between 1½ and 2½ hours broadcast every afternoon when there is racing.
ITV4 will broadcast a 60-minute highlights programme from each race day.
Steephill.tv provides information on many tv broadcasts for the Vuelta, from about halfway down the page.
la vuelta race
Four teams have been given a wild card (there is one more team to be anounced):
- 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!]
- 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
- Confirmed by a local friendly Spaniard, because each town in the Vuelta pays for the privelege of welcoming the race, only the northern towns have sufficient funds available.
- However, Wiggo can be seen next month (September) in the eight-stage Tour of Britain that starts from Ipswich.