The Vuelta is Coming! The Vuelta is Coming!

Spain‘s Vuelta (pronounced Welta) is one of cycling‘s three “Grand Tours.”  The other two are the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

It starts Saturday, August 20th and continues through Sunday, September 11th. One of the nice parts about living here is that cycling is BIG.  I think that I will be able to watch it in at least four languages with my cable package.* He will not be excited about this. Our deal is I get to watch all of every stage of the Tour de France in July and he gets football season.  With better cycling coverage, the two seasons are colliding!  If I am sent back to the states, you know why.

Enjoy the picture of Taylor Phinney above.  Here’re the basics for this year’s Vuelta:

  • In the Tour de France, the lead rider wears the yellow jersey. In the Vuelta, the lead rider wears the red jersey.
  • The Spanish are disappointed because Alberto Contador (last year’s winner of the Tour de France) isn’t competing. He worn out after getting spanked in this year’s Tour and has upcoming legal actions (relating to his positive test in last year’s tour). It sounds like he has his hands full.

 

“Contador is god.” Graffiti from the road when we were over here last year.**

 

Taylor Phinney getting ready to start a time trial.
  • This year, the Vuelta is going back to the Basque region. Previous years have avoided it because of the constant fear of terror attacks. Basques are huge cycling fans and should show mad spirit.
  • There were so many crashes in this year’s Tour de France that a lot of good riders were out of contention in the first few days.  They will be looking for redemption at the Vuelta.
  • Americans who want to root for one of their countrymen can cheer for Taylor Phinney. We were lucky enough to see him ride in Greenville, South Carolina before we left!

* In the US, Versus has great coverage of the major races. Unfortunately, it isn’t as extensive, but the up side is the commentators are better. Expect a post devoted to the wonderful Bob Roll at some point.
**It is not the best shot and has to be dispalyed upside down to be legible because it was taken from a bike while going up the mountain at a snail’s pace. Please note that to do this, I was going so slowly that I was able to spy the graffiti, read it, get my camera out, focus and snap the picture.

 

 

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