Saturday, August 23, 2014

La Vuelta a Espana Begins!

My favorite grand tour of the year began today in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain with Team Movistar taking the Team Time Trial.  Who will become the leader of Movistar: The Old Guard in Valverde or the Young Gun in Quintana?
There are a number of Spanish towns and cities with the words "de la Frontera" in their name.  Why?  That moniker is a reminder that, at one point, these towns were on the frontier between the Christian and Moorish kingdoms fighting for control of Spain during the Reconquista (ah ha!  Got in a history reference).

Why is La Vuelta my favorite Grand Tour?  Well. the stages are typically a little shorter than either the Giro or Tour de France and the climbs spectacular.  This combination leads to more exciting and wide-open racing.  Also, since this is the last major stage race of the season, riders with something to prove or those wishing to salvage their season target La Vuelta.

I was at the finish line in Madrid in the 2011 edition and it was a great spectacle.  Even my wife enjoyed the exciting atmosphere in Madrid during the race.  From our vantage point at the 150m line, we enjoyed front row action.
Racers approach the finish 2011
Finish line in Madrid 2011
This year's race is not ending in Madrid.  Instead, Santiago del Compostela is the race finish.  With many of the big names in cycling descending on Spain, the 2014 edition of La Vuelta should be exciting.

3 comments:

  1. Ahh, a fellow cycling fan - the level of tour strategy and the later in-stage tactics are not un-similar to that of a battlefield! The Giro and the Tour have been filled with spectacular drama, and indeed surprises setting the stage for a Vuelta fully packed with potential. There is more than one Columbian in town who will comped for the podium, and both Saxo (as I'm Danish I'll not say Tinkoff, not yet anyway :0) and Sky have their top-men back in the saddle after the catastrophic Tour. It's bound to be epic! Have to ask you, from one cycling enthusiast to another, who is your favorite all time rider?

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    Replies
    1. Soren, your question of favorite cyclist is not so easy to answer but I'll try!

      Being an American I likely have a bias but I will single out Greg Lemond as my favorite, all-time cyclist. Why? Many great rivalries between Lemond, Hinault, and Fignon during this era. Not only competitions across teams but within teams. Lemond battled back from a near fatal hunting accident in '87 to once again stand on the podium at TDF. Great drama.

      In '84, Lemond was 3rd to Fignon in TDF
      In '85, Lemond was 2nd to Hinault in TDF
      In '86, Lemond 1st in TDF with Hinault 2nd
      In '89, Lemond 1st in TDF with Fignon 2nd
      In '90, Lemond 1st in TDF.

      Lemond also won Worlds two times in '83 and '89.

      There you have it!

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  2. I would love to visit Spain someday and watching a race would be exciting.

    Christopher

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