Vuelta Espana 2022: 16 Interesting Facts for the Hard Core Fans

Jan Poshenko
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1. Cycling Grand Tour

Do you enjoy cycling and have a special passion for the toughest and most demanding cycling race? If so, you must know the Vuelta Espana. Cycling fans love it, and although it is not as big as the Tour de France, it offers a challenging race and great views of Spain and the chance to witness some of the best riders in action.

2. The 2018 Edition

In 2018, the cycling world had its eyes set on the Vuelta a España (or the Tour of Spain) an event that was in its 93rd edition. Although it has not made it to the World Cup yet, the Spanish cycling event is already popular and has a devoted following. From the cobblestones to the thick heat, the Vuelta a España is not an easy feat. However, cyclists seem to have no fear as they do the event for the first time or the tenth time. Here’s a look at some noteworthy facts about the Vuelta Espana 2018 that are worth taking note of.

3. What is the Vuelta Espana?

Nicknamed the “Vuelta,” which translates to “Tour,” the Vuelta Espana is a grand cycling tour that takes place in Spain and travels more than 3,400 kilometers (2,113 miles) around the country. The race usually starts in or around Madrid and finishes in or around the same city. The race starts in August or late September and lasts for over two weeks. It is the third of the three Grand Tours that are held each year (along with the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

4. Background and History

The first Vuelta was held in 1935 and was won by Ricardo Sierra, with brief highlights in 1939, 1941, and 1943 as Vuelta was not held due to the Spanish Civil War. In 1955, the Vuelta was reborn as a bike race and has been going on annually since. It was in 1961 that it became a stage race (one of the biggest in the world) and was awarded the title of the 2nd Grand Tour after Giro.

The race was held in the springtime till 1998, but from 1999, the schedule was changed to September (Autumn time). 7-time Vuelta winner Miguel Indurain from Spain is the only cyclist to win the race in back-to-back years. From 1935 till 1969 there was no official count of the race wins until Eddy Merckx (Belgium) who, between 1974 – 1980, dominated the event.

5. Timetable and Distance

The race from 2018 was schedule from Saturday, August 25, and ended on October 12 (2 weeks later).

1992 was the first year when the race was held in the autumn season.

The distance of every stage is between 135 to 175 km.

6. The First Edition

The first edition of Vuelta Espana was held in 1935. Initially, the race had eight stages and covered a distance of 2,225 kilometers. The Vuelta Espana in the first edition was used mainly as a way to get Spanish riders and cyclists noticed and to compete against Spanish racers who were racing in other countries.

The race was suspended during the Spanish civil war and was revived in 1941. The first edition was held again in 1947 and since then, it has been an annual event.

7. The Owners Of Green Jersey

In every Vuelta Espana, the jersey with green color is worn by the rider who covers a significant amount of distance on the first three stages of the tour. In Vuelta a Espana 2018, it was worn by Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin.

8. Iconic Summit Finishes

The celebration at the top has been a part of the tradition since 2015 and includes leaders of each nation inviting the leader of the general classification.

The race is always thrilling, but certain stages are particularly memorable and beloved for their beautiful panoramas, their amazing climbs, or their exciting finishes.

The following are some of the most iconic:

9. 2018 Vuelta Espana

The Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia are the biggest three-week stage races in the world, and the Vuelta a Espana is often overlooked by many cycling fans, but it does have some incredible aspects to it. It is the last Grand Tour of the year, and despite there being eight years between the last two winners in the red jersey of the King of the Mountains classification … Esteban Chaves in 2017 and Alejandro Valverde in 2015, there is still a lot of prestige to what is thought of as the closing chapter of the European season on the road.

2013 Vuelta a Espana winner, Chris Horner, is still the oldest champion in the history of the event, and this year’s edition of the race is one for the classics riders rather than those that specialize in stage races.

With so many riders likely to already be fatigued by the annual Tour of Lombardy, they will have a very tough challenge once they make the start in Murgia, Spain. The full route takes in a total of three-time trial events, including one ITT that is not a strict race against the clock but a team initiative. The race will be available to watch via streaming and television in various countries around the world.

10. The Race Favorites

  • Julian Alaphilippe of Quick-Step has made this race his main goal for 2018. He won everything he could win in the opening part of the season and comes into the race with the most wind in his sails.
  • The defending champion, Simon Yates was 1st in the Tour of Spain last year. He has had an injury-plagued season so far and his brother Adam did better in the Giro. But he is riding well and a great climber.
  • Romain Bardet, France's best hope of a home winner. He won the race in 2015 and is in good form. Always dangerous in a hard race.
  • Vincenzo Nibali – very highly regarded; he won the Vuelta in 2010.
  • Steven Kruijswijk, the only rider from the Netherlands, is someone a lot of Dutch fans had their sights set on in 2018. His form is good and he is a very experienced rider.
  • Alejandro Valverde, riding for Movistar, is like a Spanish Nibali. He has lost the title two times in the last three years.

11. Start and End Cities

Of the Vuelta a Espana: Does it have a Fixed Start and End Time?

The Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) is one of the premier cycling races held every year. While the Tour de France has grown to become an international event with massive worldwide television coverage over the decades, the Vuelta a Espana is mostly viewed by cycling enthusiasts. But very few of them know the origins, history, and other interesting facts about this historic event.

12. Stages

  • 8 km over 21 stages
  • 11 flat stages
  • 5 hilly stages
  • 3 mountain stages
  • 2 individual time trials
  • 9 teams combining to form a peloton of 198 riders
  • 16 UCI ProTeams. AG2R La Mondiale makes their season debut
  • Estado de Mexico-17 May 2018, flat (5.75 km)

Orientación-18 May 2018, mountain (161 km)

  • Avila-19 May 2018, mountain (134 km)

  • Léon-20 May 2018, hilly (203 km)

  • Salamanca-21 May 2018, flat (114 km)

  • Volta a Catalunya-25 May 2018, hilly (175 km)

  • País Vasco-1 June 2018, mountain (721 km)

  • Navarra-2 June 2018, flat (156 km)

  • Santuario de Getxo-3 June 2018, flat (134 km)

  • Vuelta al País Vasco-4 June 2018, mountain (189 km)

  • Gran Premio Miguel Indurain-5 June 2018, flat (199 km)

  • Alto de Burnes-6 June 2018, hilly (188 km)

  • Volta al País Vasco-7 June 2018, mountain (189 km)

13. Participating Teams and Riders

The cycling race takes place all across Spain and the course is quite undulating with the first of four mountain stages set to take place in race 2.

The final stage will be in Madrid where the race traditionally ends with a circuit around the city’s famous streets.

There are 21 teams who took part in the race in 2018, and here are some of the participating teams:

  • Astana
  • Bora-Hansgrohe
  • AG2R La Mondiale
  • Deceuninck-Quick-Step
  • Dimension Data
  • UAE Team Emirates
  • Cofidis
  • Solutions
  • Crédits Lotto Soudal
  • Movistar Team
  • Nippo-Vini Fantini
  • SEG Racing Team
  • Team Sky
  • Trek-Segafredo
  • Wanty-Gobert

The Vuelta Espana 2018 was particularly challenging from a physical point of view, and the course included steep climbs in the first half with the toughest mountains scheduled in the second stage of the race.

The climbing prowess of the highest-ranked cyclists in the sport, including the imposingly tall Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, who tested the nerve of the riders taking part in the event.

14. Astonishing Debut Numbers

In 2018 the race had a record number of 201 riders on the start line, with cyclists from me 12 different countries.

All the Astana extensions have received the Wild cards for the event.

15. Winners and Prize Money

The Vuelta Espana 2018 is a three-week-long stage race that is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious races in the world. Currently, the winner of the 3rd Vuelta Espana 2018 is Simon Yates. Here are the other facts related to the Vuelta Espana 2018:

The Vuelta Espana 2018 is the 73rd edition of this race.

The stage winner of the race gets €7,000 and the second place receives €5,500.

If you are a stage winner in a Grand Tour race, you get €500.

The overall winner of the race gets a prize of €800,000.

In the 39th edition of Vuelta Espana, Francesco Moser won the race holding the record of most stage wins in a single edition with fourteen stage wins.

Today, the fastest rider crossing the finish line of Vuelta Espana 2018 is José Joaquin Rojas.

The cyclists who have the maximum number of race stages for the Vuelta Espana 2018 are Sérgio Pardilla and Pello Bilbao.

In the history of the race, Italian cyclists have achieved more Vuelta Espana victories than any other nation with a total of ten wins.

In 1988, Pedro Delgado won the race with a time of 39h 19m 58s. He won the first edition of the Vuelta Espana in 1983.

16. Primary and Secondary Various Competitions

If you know a bit about any of the biking journeys that are held in the United States or if you like watching the Tour de France, it would be easiest for you to realize how this Vuelta competition works. It is a ride where all of the competitors are ranked according to their scores at the end of the ride. Three different competitions are held every year though and the rankings for each competition are based on different metrics.

17. Green Jersey

This is the second-most prestigious competition that takes place in the NFL, and in it, the cyclist with the highest overall score is adorned with a green jersey to signify this excellence. The athlete is required to maintain this lead throughout all the different stages of the ride to win this as the main prize. The ranking is based on the time of each stage, fastest time, and intermediate sprints. There are two riders who participate in this competition every time.

18. General Classification

This is the main prize that is given at the end of the competition and the cyclist who gets this is considered to be the best in that discipline. The time taken to complete the whole Vuelta competition is used to calculate the time of athletes. It is divided by the number of stages to know if the athlete maintained pace throughout the competition.

19. Prize Money

The winner of the overall classification at Vuelta a Espana 2018 received 175.000€ which is a little less than Movistar’s Valentino Rossi won at the MotoGP 2018. However, this is still quite an amount of money. Couple that with the daily stage prize money, points, and a few other possible rewards and we’re already looking at a total haul of about 1 million euros. A good prize for 3 weeks of racing.

20. General Classification Winners

Since the first Vuelta in 1935, Vuelta winners have come from several different countries including nineteen different nations. Spain has dominated the Vuelta in recent years, with the Spanish taking home the title in seven of the last ten races. Four different nations have had at least two riders take the General Classification title. Spain, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands come in with two riders on the list.

The general classification winner also tends to come from a team with a strong sprint, as the last ten Vuelta winners have all won multiple stages during the race.

Stage Winners

The 2018 Trek-Segafredo had reached and ridden across the beautiful and spectacular Malaga arch, celebrating the 100 years of the Spanish Cycling Federation.

The 2018 Vuelta Map is a proud and historic three-week event that started on the 9th of August at the village of Fishmonger's Market in Malaga with a stunning Criterium that took the peloton over some of the most difficult hills in the province of Malaga. It was an early birthday gift for Alejandro Valverde, who turned 36 on Monday, August 6.

21. Winning Margin

Chris Froome had one of the closest wins in Vuelta history. With just one day to go, Froome was ahead of everyone on GC by just 37 seconds. To win the Vuelta by that small margin is very rare.

No One under the Age of 25

There is always an odd number of riders who are under the age of 25. For the 2018 edition of Vuelta, that did not happen.

They had two of the oldest riders in the form of Joaquim Rodriguez and David De La Cruz who are 35 and 27 respectively. But they were both filling gaps to replace injured riders in the race.

That made the race less attractive to the younger generation. They felt that Tour Down Under is more important as a preparation for the upcoming season.

Age and Nationality

The average age of the cyclists in Vuelta Espana was of 28.6 years. This means that they are a lot older than the riders in many other editions.

The organizers wanted to attract old cyclists to keep the event exciting by using the older riders.

Race with the Old Stars

Vuelta Espana has always attracted some of the biggest names in cycling.

22. Age of Winners

Has your mate ever asked you “who is the oldest rider to ever win a Grand Tour?” Do you want to show your co-workers some interesting facts about the Vuelta Espana and impress them? Or do you want to spend some time with your kids showing them some fun facts about the Vuelta Espana? Whatever the reason was, I believe you will find the following information interesting.

Overall, the average age of the Vuelta Espana winners has been gone up every year. This does not mean that the average age of the oldest winner has also gone up every year.

Vuelta Espana Winners Age

Miguel Indurain (11): Three of the seven garners are younger than 30.

Tony Rominger (32): 2014 – Fabio Aru is aged 25, and Nairo Quintana is 27.

Alejandro Valverde (37): The average age of the three winners is about 36.

To find out more interesting facts about the Vuelta Espana 2018, just keep reading.

The First Vuelta

Though the Vuelta is officially the fourth of the Grand Tours, it is actually the first of the cycle races to be known as a Grand Tour. The first Vuelta Espana was held in 1935 when it was referred to as the Tour of Spain. Because there were a lot of French and some Italians who were also racing, the name was changed to the Vuelta a Espana.

First Femenina Race

The first winner of the race was the Frenchman Antonin Magne who was riding for the Peugeot team. The first female rider to enter the race to finish it was another French, Margaret Harriman, who finished 16th while riding for the British national team.

Summing up

What better way is there to end the cycling season than to watch the last Grand Tour of the year? Vuelta Espana is the third of the Grand Tours and though it is lacking the notoriety that the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France receive, it is not lacking in excitement and interesting facts.

Here are the 22 Interesting Facts for the Hard Core Fans of Vuelta a Espana 2018.