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With the season slowly coming to a close in the Northern hemisphere and the post-Tour crits having been done and dusted we move onto the Vuelta.

Some like it, some don’t and for many it’s an excuse to watch hours of cycling on TV – which works great on the weekends!

History:

  • First held in 1935 and annually since 1955, the Vuelta runs for three weeks in a changing route across Spain.
  • The inaugural event (1935) saw 50 entrants face a 3,411 km (2,119 mi.) course over only 14 stages.
  • In 1997, the Tour started for the first time in a foreign country. The began in Lisbon, on the occasion of Expo ’98.
  • The colour of the leader’s jersey of the Vuelta a España has changed several times since the original tour. The organizers who revived the Vuelta following its multiple suspensions since 1936 usually changed the colour of the jersey. The leader’s jersey began as orange in 1935, became white in 1941, then back to orange in 1942.

The route:

  • 21 stages over 3352km with many mountains along the way.
  • Sevilla city will host on Saturday 28th August the start of the Vuelta Ciclista a España with a special innovation due to the 75th anniversary of the race: the stage on 28th August will be a team time trial and moreover….. at night time. The first team starting will do it at 10 pm and it is foreseen that the race finishes almost at midnight.
  • Counting this stage in 2010, this is the 22nd time that the Vuelta Ciclista a España has included a team time trial as one of its stages. This is because this modality is seen by many supporters as a modern discipline.

Full detailed stage maps can be found here:



Fränk Schleck has been keen to let us know he’s riding via Twitter (@schleckfrank) – “Got in. the LA VUELTA. Everybody now that its warm in spain but this tops everything 40-42degrees we are going to melt……………”

The current Luxembourg champion will be firing on all cylinders now that his Tour injuries have healed, it will also be his final hurrah for Saxo Bank.

Carlos Sastre has signed for the Geox team in 2011 and at the grand old age of 35 he will be one of the wisest riders in the peloton. His third Grand Tour of the year – if only we could manage that!


Other highlights is the inclusion of Mark Cavendish in HTC-Columbia team ranks. Targeting the sprint stages specifically while also going for the mountain stages.

We hope he can shine again, after a good Tour his legs seem to be back.

Also:

  • Don’t discount Euskalet who have their typically Spanish contingent who’ll no doubt be at home in the scorching heat.
  • Garmin are taking Zabriskie, Millar, Farrar and Dean – a very strong line-up.
  • Alle Jet, Alessandro Petacchi will be in town, fighting with Cavendish for the sprint stages.
  • Cancellara, both Schlecks and Stuart O’Grady Saxo Bank are certainly finishing the season off strongly.
  • The wildcard team has gone to Xacobeo Galicia who are again a majority Spanish team – breakaway favourites?

As the final Grand Tour of 2010 the Vuelta may not be high on everyone’s list but an evening TTT to kick things off sounds exciting and if the UK gets its usual bank holiday weather we’re sure to be stuck indoors watching someone else do all the work for a change.

Let us know who you think’s going to excel, can Cavendish keep up his winning streak? Can the Schlecks and Team pull something big off?

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