ON YOUR TRIP TO SPAIN- DON’T MISS LA VUELTA DE ESPAÑA 2018
History of La Vuelta
2018 marks the 75th anniversary of LA VUELTA A ESPAÑA, the most important bike race in Spain. La Vuelta is the youngest of the three big bike races known as the “Grand Tours”: La Vuelta, Le Tour de France and the Giro de Italia. The first La Vuelta took place in 1935 and was won by the Belgium cyclist Gustaaf Deloor. On heavy steel bikes, the fifty brave participants had to carry their own patch kits and tools for repairs along the 3, 425 km route. The Spanish Civil War interrupted la Vuelta between 1937-1940 and then returned again in 1941, with mainly Spanish participants, as the rest of Europe was embroiled in World War II. In later years, La Vuelta was cancelled a couple of times more due to the bad economic situation and the isolation of the country during Franco’s regime.
Since the late 1950’s, the Vuelta has gone from strength to strength and has produced many cycling myths such as Eddy Merckx and Pedro Delgado and in more recent years names like Alejandro Valverde and Alberto Contador have become synonymous with the race. This year sees a total of 176 cyclists: 22 professional cycling teams each comprised of 8 racers- none of whom will be carrying their own patch kits, of course! An impressive support contingent of approximately 3,000 people will accompany the racers throughout the 3, 271 km route.
The route of La Vuelta
This year’s race kicks off in Málaga on August 25th. This is the third time in the history of La Vuelta that the capital of the Costa del Sol has been host to the start of the race. The first time was in 2000 and then later in 2006. With its spectacular coastline and impressive nearby mountain ranges it is no surprise that Malaga has been chosen again. This year’s race is made up of 21 stages and will go through the regions of Andalusia, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, País Vasco, Aragón, Catalunia, Andorra and will end in the Spanish capital Madrid on September 16th.
Stage 1 of La Vuelta: Malaga
Perhaps as a nod to the mother of all bike races- Le Tour de France- La Vuelta will start at the Pompidou Centre in the port of Malaga. (Malaga is the only foreign city that houses an annex of the world famous Parisian contemporary art museum). The riders will fly down the ramp next to the Centre Pompidou to begin an 8 km time-trial which will end in the Plaza de la Constitución- the beautiful main square of the city. This will be the first time in nine years that day 1 of la Vuelta is an individual time trial, which will name one of the 176 riders as leader in the general classification.
Here is the route the 8 km time-trial will take:
Starting at the Centre Pompidou Málaga and ending in the Plaza de la Constitución, the race will go via Muelle Uno, Muelle de Levante, Paseo de la Farola, Paseo Marítimo Ciudad de Melilla, Paseo Marítimo Pablo Ruiz Picasso, calle Rafael Pérez Estrada, Paseo de Salvador Rueda, Calle Ferrándiz, Calle Victoria, Plaza de Jesús El Rico, through the Alcazaba tunnel, paseo del Parque, Plaza de la Marina and then calle Marqués de Larios to end in the main square of the city: Plaza de la Constitución.
All of these streets will be closed from 1:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. – something to take into consideration if you have to be anywhere fast!
(At the time of writing the official start time of the time trial had not been announced- but obviously it will be some time between 1:15 and 9 p.m.!)
Even though it will be a short and speedy race, there will be plenty of excitement and activity throughout the day for you to see on your trip to Spain. At the start and finish lines there will be entertainment areas set up with touristic promotions and also a ‘Fan Zone’ where the public can get up close and personal with their cycling heroes and see them check in to Stage 1.
In Malaga, two hours before the time trial, La Vuelta Junior will take place. Young cyclists between the ages of 9 and 12 years old will cycle the last kilometre of the route and the winners will go up on the podium, where their idols will be just a few hours later. An initiative organised between the Association of Professional Cyclists and the Foundation of Sport for Youth, whose aim is to nurture strength, humility and respect in young cyclists.
La Vuelta stages in Málaga province:
Stage 2: Marbella to El Caminito del Rey 26/08/2018
Stage 3: Mijas to Alhaurín de la Torre 27/08/2018
Stage 4: Velez-Malaga to Alfacar 28/08/2018
Official song of La Vuelta: La vida son sólo dos días
“A veces estás abajo, a veces estás arriba” is one of the lines in the song. (Sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down) and in la Vuelta this can be taken quite literally!
Local pop Singer Nuria Fergó was honoured to be asked to sing the official song of La Vuelta and proud to show off her native province. Not only a great song but also a fabulous video that showcases the wonderful city of Malaga where the bike race will begin.
So check out the video whilst prepring for your trip to Spain and get into the spirit of La Vuelta! Rent a bike from Malaga Bike Tours & Rentals by Kay Farrell and we will point you in the right direction to see the start of the race and be part of the excitement of the day! Coach trips to Spain and the Costa del Sol can also get you to where you want to go.