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Tour of the Basque Country

The Tour of the Basque Country (Spanish: Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco, Basque: Euskal Herriko Itzulia) is an annual cycling stage race held in the Spanish Basque Country in April. It is one of 24 races that make up the UCI World Ranking calendar.
Because the Basque Country is a mountainous area, there are few flat stages, and thus the event favors those who are strong climbers. Most ascents in the Tour are not particularly high by professional cycling standards, but are often quite steep.

Tour of the Basque Country
Tour of the Basque Country logo.svg
Date Early-April
Region Spanish Basque Country
English name Tour of the Basque Country
Local name(s)
  • Vuelta al País Vasco (in Spanish)
  • Euskal Herriko itzulia (in Basque)
Discipline Road
Competition UCI World Tour
Type Stage race
First edition 1924 (1924)
Editions 57 (as of 2017)
First winner  Francis Pélissier (FRA)
Most wins (4 wins)
Most recent  Alejandro Valverde (ESP)

HistoryEdit

The original Tour of the Basque Country had a troubled history, with 8 editions contested between 1924 and 1935, before the civil war seemingly wiped it out for good. In spite of its short tenure, it is mentioned and described in Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises.

In 1952, the Eibar Cycling Club (erstwhile backers of Spain's first national stage race, the pre-Vuelta a España Gran Premio República) launched a new 3-day event called Gran Premio de la Bicicleta Eibarresa to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Former French national champion Louis Caput took the inaugural edition.

In 1969, organizers opted to promote the race (by then 5 stages long) as IX Vuelta al País Vasco - XVIII Bicicleta Eibarresa, effectively merging the Bicicleta Eibarresa into a reborn Tour of the Basque Country. However, the palmares of the Bicicleta Eibarresa (featuring Vuelta a España winners Jesús Loroño and Rolf Wolfshohl) is not recognized as part of the Tour of the Basque Country's history. The Eibar Cycling Club would relinquish control of the competition following the 1973 edition, while retaining the rights to the Bicicleta Eibarresa name, which has sporadically been reactivated to help promote other, lower ranked events.

The first winner of the Tour of the Basque Country was Francis Pélissier from France, while the first winner of the 'modern' Tour (1969) was Jacques Anquetil, also of France. The most successful riders in the history of the Tour are Spain's José Antonio González, who won the race four times in 1972, 1975, 1977 and 1978, and Spain's Alberto Contador, who also won the race four times in 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2016.

The most recent edition (2017) was won by Spain's Alejandro Valverde.

The winner traditionally dons a basque beret on the podium.

WinnersEdit

Rider Team
1924   Pelissier, FrancisFrancis Pélissier (FRA)
1925   Verdyck, AugusteAuguste Verdyck (BEL)
1926   Frantz, NicolasNicolas Frantz (LUX)
1927   Fontan, VictorVictor Fontan (FRA)
1928   De Waele, MauriceMaurice De Waele (BEL)
1929   De Waele, MauriceMaurice De Waele (BEL)
1930   Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP)
1931–
1934
No race
1935   Bartali, GinoGino Bartali (ITA)
1936–
1968
No race
1969   Anquetil, JacquesJacques Anquetil (FRA)
1970   Santamarina, Luis PedroLuis Pedro Santamarina (ESP)
1971   Ocana, LuisLuis Ocaña (ESP)
1972   Gonzalez, Jose AntonioJosé Antonio González (ESP)
1973   Ocana, LuisLuis Ocaña (ESP)
1974   Lasa, Miguel MaríaMiguel María Lasa (ESP)
1975   Gonzalez, Jose AntonioJosé Antonio González (ESP)
1976   Baronchelli, GianbattistaGianbattista Baronchelli (ITA)
1977   Gonzalez, Jose AntonioJosé Antonio González (ESP)
1978   Gonzalez, Jose AntonioJosé Antonio González (ESP)
1979   Battaglin, GiovanniGiovanni Battaglin (ITA)
1980   Fernandez, AlbertoAlberto Fernández (ESP)
1981   Contini, SilvanoSilvano Contini (ITA)
1982   Laguia, Jose LuisJosé Luis Laguía (ESP) Reynolds
1983   Gorospe, JuliánJulián Gorospe (ESP) Reynolds
1984   Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL) Skil–Reydel–Sem–Mavic
1985   Ruiz Cabestany, PelloPello Ruiz Cabestany (ESP) Seat–Orbea
1986   Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL) Kas
1987   Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL) Kas
1988   Breukink, ErikErik Breukink (NED) Panasonic–Isostar–Colnago–Agu
1989   Roche, StephenStephen Roche (IRL) Fagor–MBK
1990   Gorospe, JuliánJulián Gorospe (ESP) Banesto
1991   Chiappucci, ClaudioClaudio Chiappucci (ITA) Carrera Jeans–Tassoni
1992   Rominger, TonyTony Rominger (SUI) CLAS–Cajastur
1993   Rominger, TonyTony Rominger (SUI) CLAS–Cajastur
1994   Rominger, TonyTony Rominger (SUI) Mapei–CLAS
1995   Zulle, AlexAlex Zülle (SUI) ONCE
1996   Casagrande, FrancescoFrancesco Casagrande (ITA) Saeco–AS Juvenes San Marino
1997   Zulle, AlexAlex Zülle (SUI) ONCE
1998   Cuesta, InigoÍñigo Cuesta (ESP) ONCE
1999   Jalabert, LaurentLaurent Jalabert (FRA) ONCE–Deutsche Bank
2000   Kloden, AndreasAndreas Klöden (GER) Team Telekom
2001   Rumsas, RaimondasRaimondas Rumšas (LTU) Fassa Bortolo
2002   Osa, AitorAitor Osa (ESP) iBanesto.com
2003   Mayo, IbanIban Mayo (ESP) Euskaltel–Euskadi
2004   Menchov, DenisDenis Menchov (RUS) Illes Balears–Banesto
2005   Di Luca, DaniloDanilo Di Luca (ITA) Liquigas–Bianchi
2006   Gomez Merchante, Jose AngelJosé Ángel Gómez Marchante (ESP) Saunier Duval–Prodir
2007   Cobo, Juan JoseJuan José Cobo (ESP) Saunier Duval–Prodir
2008   Contador, AlbertoAlberto Contador (ESP) Astana
2009   Contador, AlbertoAlberto Contador (ESP) Astana
2010   Horner, ChrisChris Horner (USA) Team RadioShack
2011   Klöden, AndreasAndreas Klöden (GER) Team RadioShack
2012   Sánchez, SamuelSamuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel–Euskadi
2013   Quintana, NairoNairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team
2014   Contador, AlbertoAlberto Contador (ESP) Tinkoff–Saxo
2015   Rodríguez, JoaquimJoaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Team Katusha
2016   Contador, AlbertoAlberto Contador (ESP) Tinkoff
2017   Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team

External linksEdit