By Graham Jones
and Barry Boyce

CyclingRevealed Historians


Images © Unipublic


Also read:

La Vuelta: A Colorful &
Caliente History

Vuelta a Espana Champions
Living and Dead





Vuelta Picture Recap - Quintessential Spain

Experience the 2011 Vuelta a Espana

Go to Vuelta a Espana 2011: Picture Recap

After 700 years of Moorish rule, Spain succumbed to the Christian Reconquest when Ferdinand and Isabella finally conquered Granada in 1492 and created a united Spain. Islamic rule was replaced by Christian rule, but today relics of the Moors permeate the culture, architecture and the very soul of Andalucia, the region where this year's Vuelta begins.

Along with Cordoba and Sevilla, Granada belongs to the trio of romantic Moorish cities that evoke images of quintessential Spain: bullfights, flamenco, brown hills dotted with olive, lemon, orange and wine groves and, of course, romantic castles. Yet 1,000 years before the Moors, the Romans occupied Spain. There is still evidence of that great culture in abundance with bridges, aqueducts and buildings to be seen everywhere.

These musings may seem to have little to do with cycle racing in general and the Vuelta a Espana in particular, but it takes little imagination to recognize that the architects of the grand Tours utilize the history, culture and infinite variations in geographical features of their beautiful countries to design races that become an integral part of their society. Probably no other sport is woven so intimately into the fabric of its homelands.

This year the Vuelta starts in the beach resort of Benidorm and heads southwest. After a transfer heads north to the suburbs of Madrid. The peloton will pass through the far western tip of Spain before heading into the stage 15 mountain top finish n the Angliru. This stage will be critical for all the contenders. The race heads into the Basque region for the first time in many years.

From Vitoria the 2011 Vuelta makes its way back to Madrid for the grand finale on September 11th. A brief stage by stage preview follows:

Click on the Stage for the profile

Stage 1 - (Sat) August 20, Benidorm - Benidorm 13.5 km Team Time Trial

Stage 2 - (Sun) August 21, La Nucía to Playas de Orihuela 175.5 km Flat Stage

Stage 3 - (Mon) August 22, Petrer to Totana 163 km Flat Stage

Stage 4 - (Tues) August 23, Baza to Sierra Nevada 170.2 km Mountain Stage

Stage 5 - (Weds) August 24, Sierra Nevada to Valdepeñas de Jaén 187 km Flat Stage

Stage 6 - (Thurs) August 25, Úbeda to Córdoba 196.8 km Flat Stage

Stage 7 - (Fri) August 26, Almadén to Talavera de la Reina 187.6 km Flat Stage

Stage 8 - (Sat) August 27, Talavera de la Reina to San Lorenzo de El Escorial 177.3 km Mountain Stage

Stage 9 - (Sun) August 28, Villacastín to Sierra de Bejar. La Covatilla 183 km Mountain Stage

Stage 10 - (Mon) August 29, Salamanca - Salamanca 47.0 km Individual Time Trial

Stage 11 - (Weds) August 31, Verín to Estación de Esquí Alto de la Manzaneda 167 km Mountain Finish

Stage12 - (Thurs) September 1, Ponteareas to Pontevedra 167.3 km Rolling Stage

Stage 13 - (Fri) September 2, Sarria to Ponferrada 158.2 km Flat Stage

Stage 14 - (Sat) September 3, Astorga to La Farrapona. Lagos de Somiedo 172.8 km Mountain Finish

Stage 15 - (Sun) September 4, Avilés to Anglirú 142.2 km Mountain Finish

Stage 16 - (Tues) September 6, Villa Romana La Olmeda (Palencia) to Haro 188.1 km Flat Stage

Stage 17 - (Weds) September 7, Faustino V to Peña Cabarga 211 km Mountain Stage

Stage 18 - (Thurs) September 8, Solares to Noja 174.6 km Mountain Stage

Stage 19 - (Fri) September 9, Noja to Bilbao 158.5 km Flat Stage

Stage 20 - (Sat) September 10, Bilbao to Vitoria 185 km Mountain Stage

Stage 21 - (Sun) September 11, Circuito del Jarama to Madrid 94.2 km Flat Stage



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Vuelta a Espana 2011

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