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The Tour of the Basque Country (Officially: Itzulia Basque Country, Spanish: Vuelta 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 the races that make up the UCI World Tour calendar. As the Basque Country is a mountainous area, there are few flat stages, and thus the event favors those who are strong climbers. The race is characterized by its short stages, rarely exceeding 200 km, and steep ascents. While the ascents featured in the race aren't particularly high compared to other stage races, they are among the steepest seen in professional cycling, some having sections with gradients reaching well above 20%.[1]

Tour of the Basque Country
2019 Tour of the Basque Country
Tour of the Basque Country logo.svg
RegionSpanish Basque Country
English nameTour of the Basque Country
Local name(s)
  • Vuelta al País Vasco ‹See Tfd›(in Spanish)
  • Euskal Herriko itzulia (in Basque)
CompetitionUCI World Tour
TypeStage race
Web Edit this at Wikidata
First edition1924 (1924)
Editions59 (as of 2019)
First winner Francis Pélissier (FRA)
Most wins
Most recent Ion Izagirre (ESP)



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 (2018) was won by Slovenia's Primož Roglič.

The winner traditionally dons a basque beret on the podium.


Rider Team
1924   Francis Pélissier (FRA)
1925   Auguste Verdyck (BEL)
1926   Nicolas Frantz (LUX)
1927   Victor Fontan (FRA)
1928   Maurice De Waele (BEL)
1929   Maurice De Waele (BEL)
1930   Mariano Cañardo (ESP)
No race
1935   Gino Bartali (ITA)
No race
1969   Jacques Anquetil (FRA)
1970   Luis Pedro Santamarina (ESP)
1971   Luis Ocaña (ESP)
1972   José Antonio González (ESP)
1973   Luis Ocaña (ESP)
1974   Miguel María Lasa (ESP)
1975   José Antonio González (ESP)
1976   Gianbattista Baronchelli (ITA)
1977   José Antonio González (ESP)
1978   José Antonio González (ESP)
1979   Giovanni Battaglin (ITA)
1980   Alberto Fernández (ESP)
1981   Silvano Contini (ITA)
1982   José Luis Laguía (ESP) Reynolds
1983   Julián Gorospe (ESP) Reynolds
1984   Sean Kelly (IRL) Skil–Reydel–Sem–Mavic
1985   Pello Ruiz Cabestany (ESP) Seat–Orbea
1986   Sean Kelly (IRL) Kas
1987   Sean Kelly (IRL) Kas
1988   Erik Breukink (NED) Panasonic–Isostar–Colnago–Agu
1989   Stephen Roche (IRL) Fagor–MBK
1990   Julián Gorospe (ESP) Banesto
1991   Claudio Chiappucci (ITA) Carrera Jeans–Tassoni
1992   Tony Rominger (SUI) CLAS–Cajastur
1993   Tony Rominger (SUI) CLAS–Cajastur
1994   Tony Rominger (SUI) Mapei–CLAS
1995   Alex Zülle (SUI) ONCE
1996   Francesco Casagrande (ITA) Saeco–AS Juvenes San Marino
1997   Alex Zülle (SUI) ONCE
1998   Íñigo Cuesta (ESP) ONCE
1999   Laurent Jalabert (FRA) ONCE–Deutsche Bank
2000   Andreas Klöden (GER) Team Telekom
2001   Raimondas Rumšas (LTU) Fassa Bortolo
2002   Aitor Osa (ESP)
2003   Iban Mayo (ESP) Euskaltel–Euskadi
2004   Denis Menchov (RUS) Illes Balears–Banesto
2005   Danilo Di Luca (ITA) Liquigas–Bianchi
2006   José Ángel Gómez Marchante (ESP) Saunier Duval–Prodir
2007   Juan José Cobo (ESP) Saunier Duval–Prodir
2008   Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana
2009   Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana
2010   Chris Horner (USA) Team RadioShack
2011   Andreas Klöden (GER) Team RadioShack
2012   Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel–Euskadi
2013   Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team
2014   Alberto Contador (ESP) Tinkoff–Saxo
2015   Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Team Katusha
2016   Alberto Contador (ESP) Tinkoff
2017   Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team
2018   Primož Roglič (SLO) LottoNL–Jumbo
2019   Ion Izagirre (ESP) Astana

Multiple winnersEdit

Wins Rider Editions
4   José Antonio González (ESP) 1972, 1975, 1977, 1978
  Alberto Contador (ESP) 2008, 2008, 2015, 2016
3   Sean Kelly (IRL) 1984, 1986, 1987
  Tony Rominger (SUI) 1992, 1993, 1994
2   Maurice Dewaele (BEL) 1928, 1929
  Luis Ocaña (ESP) 1971, 1973
  Julián Gorospe (ESP) 1983, 1990
  Alex Zülle (SUI) 1995, 1997
  Andreas Klöden (GER) 2000, 2011

Most stage winsEdit

# Rider Stage wins
1   Domingo Perurena (ESP) 11
  Seán Kelly (IRL) 11
3   Laurent Jalabert (FRA) 9
4   Tony Rominger (SUI) 8
  Samuel Sánchez (ESP) 8
6   Alberto Contador (ESP) 7
7   Miguel María Lasa (ESP) 6
  Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) 6
  Alejandro Valverde (ESP) 6
9   José Antonio González Linares (ESP) 5
  Stefano Zanini (ITA) 5


  1. ^ Middendorp, Koen. "Voorbeschouwing: Ronde van Het Baskenland 2019". Wieleflirts. Retrieved 12 April 2019.

External linksEdit