36th Vuelta a Espana 1981


By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian





Battaglin Starts a Grand Springtime Double

The 1981 Vuelta a Espana was controlled by Italian Giovanni Battaglin. The Italian climber started the Vuelta as the favorite to victory in 1981. He also earned the victory in the 1981 Giro d’Italia, which started 3 days after the Vuelta finish in Madrid.

Young Frenchman Regis Clere earned the first race lead by winning the 6.3 km prologue ITT in 8'26". Giovanni Battaglin lost 17".  The first stage between Santander and Demean saw the race adopt a rather slow pace with attacks at a minimum, the race crossed the finish line 50 minutes slower than the slowest “time schedule”!. Italian sprinters Guido Bontempi (Stg 1 and 3) and Alfredo Chinetti (Stg 2) controlled the early racing.

Battaglin, a brilliant Italian climber, was able to answer all the attacks from the Spanish contenders. Second place in the General Classification Pedro Muñoz and his Zor-Helios-Novostil team stood out among the attackers.

Battaglin took the race leader’s Maillot Amarillo on the Stage 8b Mountain Time Trial on the climb of the Sierra Nevada. Muñoz finished second on the stage 43” behind. His lead would not be challenged over the closing stages and The only challenge for the Italian was to watch Pedro Muñoz´s rear wheel in order to became winner of the race.

Battaglin in full control

Giovanni Battaglin was never seriously challenged and rode into Madrid to claim the 1981 Vuelta a Espana victory!

SPECIAL NOTE: Giovanni Battaglin achieved a very rare spring time “Double Victory” sweeping both the Vuelta a Espana (April 21 to May 10) and the Giro d’Italia (May 13 to June 7) in 1981. With this double victory Battaglin matched the great Eddy Merckx’s 1973 springtime Vuelta/Giro double.

Stage and Distance

Stage Winner

Race Leader

Prologue Santander, 6.3 km ITT

Regis Clere (Fra)

Regis Clere (Fra)

Stage 1 Santander-Aviles, 221 km

Guido Bontempi (Ita)

Regis Clere (Fra)

Stage 2 Aviles-Leon, 159 km

Alfredo Chinetti (Ita)

Regis Clere (Fra)

Stage 3 Leon-Salamanca, 195 km

Guido Bontempi (Ita)

Regis Clere (Fra)

Stage 4 Salamanca-Caceres, 206 km

Celestino Prieto (Ita)

Regis Clere (Fra)

Stage 5 Caceres-Merida, 152 km

Heddy Nieuwdorp (Ned)

Regis Clere (Fra)

Stage 6 Merida-Sevilla, 199 km

Jos Lammertink (Ned)

Regis Clere (Fra)

Stage 7 Ecija-Jaen, 181 km

Juan Fernandez (Spa)

Regis Clere (Fra)

Stage 8a Jaen-Granada, 100 km

Jose-Maria Yurrebaso (Spa)

Regis Clere (Fra)

Stage 8b Granada-Sierra Nevada, 30.5 km ITT

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 9 Baza-Murcia, 204 km

Manuel Murga (Spa)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 10 Murcia-Almusafes, 223 km

Kim Andersen (Den)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 11 Almusafes-Peniscola, 193 km

Jesus Suarez-Cueva (Spa)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 12 Peniscola-Esparraguera, 217 km

Frederic Vichot (Fra)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 13 Esperraguera-Rassos de Peguera, 187 km

Vicente Belda (Spa)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 14 Gironella-Balaguer, 197 km

J-L Lopez-Cerron (Spa)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 15a Balaguer-Alfajarin, 146 km

Pedro Munoz (Spa)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 15b Zaragoza, 11.3 km ITT

Regis Clere (Fra)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 16 Catalayud-Torrejon de Ardoz, 209 km

Bernardo Pino (Spa)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 17 Torrejon de Ardoz-Segovia, 150 km

Miguel-Maria Lasa (Spa)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 18 Segovia-Los Angeles de San Rafael, 175 km

Angel Arroyo (Spa)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

Stage 19 Madrid/Circuito San Isidro, 84 km

Francisco-Javier Cedena (Spa)

Giovanni Battaglin (Ita)

José-Luis Laguia (Spa) 
Jesus Suarez-Cueva (Spa)

VaE April 21 - May 10, 1981
3,446.1 km

1.Giovanni BATTAGLIN (Ita) 98h04'49"

2. Pedro Munoz (Spa) +2'09"

3. Vicente Belda (Spa) +2'29"

Starters: 80
Finishers: 55
Average Speed: 35.135 km/h

VaE 1980

VaE 1982

Return to the Timeline ToC

Return to the Race Snippets


All materials are property of CyclingRevealed and Copyright © 2012-2018
unless otherwise noted

Home | Contact Us