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The Volta a Catalunya (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈbɔɫtə ə kətəˈɫuɲə]; English: Tour of Catalonia, Spanish: Vuelta a Cataluña) is a road bicycle race held annually in Catalonia, Spain.

Volta a Catalunya
2018 Volta a Catalunya
Volta a Catalunya logo.png
Date Late March
Region Catalonia, Spain
English name Tour of Catalonia
Local name(s)

Vuelta a Cataluña (in Spanish)

Volta a Catalunya (in Catalan)
Discipline Road
Competition UCI World Tour
Type Stage race
Organiser "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya Associació Esportiva (Unió Esportiva de Sants)
Race director Rubèn Peris
First edition 1911 (1911)
Editions 98 (as of 2018)
First winner  Sebastià Masdeu (ESP)
Most wins  Mariano Cañardo (ESP) (7 wins)
Most recent  Alejandro Valverde (ESP)

It is one of three World Tour stage races in Spain, together with the Vuelta a España and the Tour of the Basque Country. The race has had several different calendar dates, running before in September, June and May. Since 2010 it has been on the calendar in late March as part of the UCI World Tour.[1]

Raced over seven days, it covers the autonomous community of Catalonia in Northeast Spain and contains one or more stages in the mountain region of the Pyrenees.[2] The race traditionally finishes with a stage in Barcelona, Catalonia's capital, on a circuit with the famous Montjuïc climb and park.[3]

First held in 1911, the Volta a Catalunya is the fourth-oldest still-existing cycling stage race in the world.[4] Only the Tour de France (1903), the Tour of Belgium (1908) and the Giro d'Italia (1909) are older.[2] It was the second cycling event organized on the Iberian peninsula, only after the amateur and sub-23 race Volta a Tarragona (1908), equally held in Catalonia but no longer on the calendar. Catalan cycling icon Mariano Cañardo won the race seven times in the 1920s and 1930s, setting an unsurpassed record.[5]



The pioneering daysEdit

The Volta a Catalunya was created in 1911 by cycling journalist Miquel Arteman, editor of Barcelona-based sports newspaper El Mundo Deportivo.[5][6] Arteman partnered with Narcisse Masferrer, president of Spanish Cycling Union, and Jaume Grau, founder and owner of El Mundo Deportivo.

Start of the first Volta a Catalunya in Barcelona, on 6 January 1911.

The first edition was held from 6 to 8 January 1911. 43 riders signed up but only 34 started on Barcelona's Plaça de Sarrià.[6] The first stage was run from Barcelona to Tarragona at 97 km, the second from Tarragona to Lleida at 111 km and the final 157 km stage from Lleida back to Barcelona, totaling 363 km. 22 riders finished the race on the Velodrome di Sants. Catalan rider Seabastià Masdeu won the first and third stage and became the first overall winner. The winner's average speed was 23 km/h.[6]

The Club Deportivo Barcelona, presided by Miquel Arteman, took on the race organization in 1912 and 1913. The event was still organized on a three-stage format and amassed large numbers of spectators along the largely unpaved roads.[5] Local Catalan riders Josép Magdalena and Juan Martí won the second and third edition. After 1913 the Volta a Catalunya was suspended because of World War I and reprised in 1920, but was discontinued again the next two years because of the chaotic return of the race.[5]

Revival and Spanish Civil WarEdit

Mariano Cañardo won the race a record seven times in he 1920s and 1930s.

The race was revived in 1923 for its fifth edition. The organization was taken over by the Unión Deportiva de Sants, which also supported Barcelonese football teams.[7] The race grew to a one-week event and gained prestige fast. It became a fixture on the calendar, attracting more foreign participants, mainly from France and Italy.[5] The 1920s and 1930s became the era of Catalan cycling icon Mariano Cañardo, who became the leading figure of the Volta a Catalunya with seven victories.

During the Spanish Civil War, the race had its last interruptions in 1937 and 1938, hampering Cañardo's winning streak. After the civil war, World War II broke out in the rest of Europe and, while Catalonia was war-ridden and despite lacking foreign participants, the race was at the peak of its popularity and considered a symbol of Catalan sports culture. In 1945, marking the event's 25th edition, the Volta a Catalunya was exceptionally run over two weeks, before returning to its seven-day format the next year.[5]

Modern eraEdit

In the course of the years, some of cycling's greatest riders have won the race. Miguel Poblet won the Volta twice in the 1950s, Jacques Anquetil in 1967, Eddy Merckx in 1968, Luis Ocaña in 1971, Felice Gimondi in 1972, Francesco Moser in 1978, Sean Kelly in 1984 and 1986. Miguel Indurain, Spanish cycling icon of the modern era, won the race three times in the early 1990s. Colombian Álvaro Mejía became the first non-European winner in 1993.

From 1941 until 1994 the race was held in September.[5] When UCI revolutionized the international cycling calendar in 1995, the Vuelta a España obtained the September date and the Volta a Catalunya moved to June on the calendar. The race finished two weeks before the start of the Tour de France and the Volta became a principal preparation race for general classification protagonists. Frenchman Laurent Jalabert won the 1995 edition, preceding his fourth place in that year's Tour de France.[8]

Spanish allround specialist Alejandro Valverde is the first rider since Miguel Indurain to win the Volta a Catalunya three times.

In 1999, 22-year old Spanish rider Manuel Sanroma died as a result of a crash during the second stage of the race. Sanroma, a promising sprinter, was the favourite to win the stage, but fell head-first onto a sidewalk at one kilometer from the finish in Vilanova i la Geltrú. Despite wearing a helmet, he succumbed to his injuries in hospital.[9][10] The next day, riders decided to neutralize the stage to Barcelona.[11]

World Tour RaceEdit

In 2005 the Volta a Catalunya was included in the inaugural UCI Pro Tour and the date was shifted to May, to avoid the Tour de Suisse date.[12] The edition was won by Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych but the move did not prove successful because the new date coincided with the Giro d'Italia.[13]

In 2010 the race moved to late March on the calendar, the slot formerly held by another Catalan stage race, the Setmana Catalana.[14] Joaquim Rodriguez, the foremost Catalan rider of his generation, won the race twice since the date shift. Alberto Contador, winner of the 2011 edition,[15] was later stripped of his win after his positive doping test in the 2010 Tour de France.[16][17] Italian runner-up Michele Scarponi was retroactively awarded the victory. Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde won the latest two editions in 2017 and 2018.

Route of the 2012 Volta a Catalunya.


Since the race's earlier date on the calendar in late March, the Volta a Catalunya starts in one of the coastal resorts on the Costa Brava with a stage through rolling terrain inland, usually suited for sprinters.[18]

The race addresses the Pyrenees mountains in the middle part of the race, although the mountains are usually less high than before the date shift, due to often snowy and cold conditions on high altitude in March.[2] One of the regular climbs in the race is the summit finish to La Molina, an 11.6 km climb with a 4.8% average gradient. The ski resort in Alp takes the peloton deep into the Pyrenees to 1694 m altitude, with the weather often a decisive factor.[18]

The race traditionally finishes with a hilly stage in Barcelona on a circuit, featuring eight trips over the Montjuïc climb and park.[2]


Rider Team
1911   Masdeu, SebastiaSebastià Masdeu (ESP)
1912   Magdalena, JosépJosép Magdalena (ESP)
1913   Martí, JuanJuan Martí (ESP)
No race
1920   Pelletier, JoseJosé Pelletier (FRA)
1921 No race
1922 No race
1923   Ville, MauriceMaurice Ville (FRA) Automoto-Hutchinson
1924   Mucio, MiquelMiquel Mucio (ESP) U.D. Sans
1925   Mucio, MiquelMiquel Mucio (ESP) U.D. Sans
1926   Fontan, VictorVíctor Fontan (FRA) individual
1927   Fontan, VictorVíctor Fontan (FRA) individual
1928   Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) Elvish-Wolber
1929   Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) F.C. Barcelona
1930   Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) Styl
1931   Cardona, SalvadorSalvador Cardona (ESP) individual
1932   Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) individual
1933   Bovet, AlfredoAlfredo Bovet (ITA) Bianchi
1934   Rogora, BernardoBernardo Rogora (ITA) Gloria
1935   Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) Orbea
1936   Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) Colin-Wolber
1937 No race due to Civil War
1938 No race due to Civil War
1939   Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) individual
1940   Didier, ChristopheChristophe Didier (LUX) Alcyon-Dunlop
1941   Sancho, Antonio AndrésAntonio Andrés Sancho (ESP) individual
1942   Ezquerra, FedericoFédérico Ezquerra (ESP) individual
1943   Berrendero, JulianJulián Berrendero (ESP) F.C. Barcelona
1944   Casas, MiguelMiguel Casas (ESP) individual
1945   Ruiz, BernardoBernardo Ruiz (ESP) individual
1946   Berrendero, JulianJulián Berrendero (ESP) Chiclès-Tabay
1947   Rodriguez, EmilioEmilio Rodríguez (ESP) U.D. Sans-Alas Color-Minaco
1948   Rodriguez, EmilioEmilio Rodríguez (ESP) U.D. Sans-Alas Color
1949   Rol, EmileEmile Rol (FRA) La Perle-Hutchinson
1950   Gelabert, AntonioAntonio Gelabert (ESP) individual
1951   Volpi, PrimoPrimo Volpi (ITA) Arbos-Talbot
1952   Poblet, MiguelMiguel Poblet (ESP) Canals & Nubiola
1953   Botella, SalvadorSalvador Botella (ESP) individual
1954   Serena, WalterWalter Serena (ITA) Bottecchia-Ursus
1955   Gomez del Moral, JoseJosé Gómez del Moral (ESP) Minaco
1956   Utset, AnicetoAniceto Utset (ESP) Mobylette-Coabania
1957   Lorono, JesusJesús Loroño (ESP)
1958   Van Genechten, RichardRichard Van Genechten (BEL)
1959   Botella, SalvadorSalvador Botella (ESP)
1960   Poblet, MiguelMiguel Poblet (ESP)
1961   Duez, HenriHenri Duez (FRA)
1962   Karmany, AntonioAntonio Karmany (ESP)
1963   Novales, JosephJoseph Novales (FRA)
1964   Carrara, JosephJoseph Carrara (FRA)
1965   Gomez del Moral, AntonioAntonio Gómez del Moral (ESP)
1966   Den Hartog, ArieArie Den Hartog (NED)
1967   Anquetil, JacquesJacques Anquetil (FRA)
1968   Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL)
1969   Diaz, MarianoMariano Díaz (ESP)
1970   Bitossi, FrancoFranco Bitossi (ITA)
1971   Ocana, LuisLuis Ocaña (ESP)
1972   Gimondi, FeliceFelice Gimondi (ITA)
1973   Perurena, DomingoDomingo Perurena (ESP)
1974   Thevenet, BernardBernard Thévenet (FRA)
1975   Bertoglio, FaustoFausto Bertoglio (ITA)
1976   Martinez, EnriqueEnrique Martínez (ESP)
1977   Maertens, FreddyFreddy Maertens (BEL)
1978   Moser, FrancescoFrancesco Moser (ITA)
1979   Belda, VicenteVicente Belda (ESP)
1980   Lejarreta, MarinoMarino Lejarreta (ESP) Teka
1981   Ruperez, FaustinoFaustino Ruperez (ESP) Zor
1982   Fernandez, AlbertoAlberto Fernández (ESP) Teka
1983   Recio, JosepJosep Recio (ESP) Kelme
1984   Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL) Skil-Sem
1985   Millar, RobertRobert Millar (GBR) Peugeot
1986   Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL) KAS
1987   Pino, AlvaroÁlvaro Pino (ESP) BH
1988   Indurain, MiguelMiguel Indurain (ESP) Reynolds
1989   Lejarreta, MarinoMarino Lejarreta (ESP) Caja Rural
1990   Cubino, LaudelinoLaudelino Cubino (ESP) BH
1991   Indurain, MiguelMiguel Indurain (ESP) Banesto
1992   Indurain, MiguelMiguel Indurain (ESP) Banesto
1993   Mejia, AlvaroÁlvaro Mejía (COL) Motorola
1994   Chiappucci, ClaudioClaudio Chiappucci (ITA) Carrera Jeans–Tassoni
1995   Jalabert, LaurentLaurent Jalabert (FRA) ONCE
1996   Zulle, AlexAlex Zülle (SUI) ONCE
1997   Escartin, FernandoFernando Escartín (ESP) Kelme–Costa Blanca
1998   Buenahora, HernanHernan Buenahora (COL) Vitalicio Seguros
1999   Beltran, ManuelManuel Beltrán (ESP) Banesto
2000   Jimenez, Jose MariaJosé Maria Jimenez (ESP) Banesto
2001   Beloki, JosebaJoseba Beloki (ESP) ONCE–Eroski
2002   Heras, RobertoRoberto Heras (ESP) U.S. Postal Service
2003   Pecharroman, Jose AntonioJosé Antonio Pecharromán (ESP) Costa de Almería-Paternina
2004   Martin Perdiguero, Miguel AngelMiguel Ángel Martín Perdiguero (ESP) Phonak
2005   Popovych, YaroslavYaroslav Popovych (UKR) Discovery Channel
2006   Canaga, DavidDavid Cañada (ESP) Saunier Duval–Prodir
2007   Karpets, VladimirVladimir Karpets (RUS) Caisse d'Epargne
2008   Cesar, GustavoGustavo César (ESP) Karpin–Galicia
2009   Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne
2010   Rodríguez, JoaquimJoaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Team Katusha
2011   Scarponi, MicheleMichele Scarponi[Note 1] (ITA) Lampre–ISD
2012   Albasini, MichaelMichael Albasini (SUI) GreenEDGE
2013   Martin, DanDan Martin (IRL) Garmin–Sharp
2014   Rodríguez, JoaquimJoaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Team Katusha
2015   Porte, RichieRichie Porte (AUS) Team Sky
2016   Quintana, NairoNairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team
2017   Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team
2018   Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team

Multiple winnersEdit

Wins Rider Editions
7   Mariano Cañardo (ESP) 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1939
3   Miguel Indurain (ESP) 1988, 1991, 1992
  Alejandro Valverde (ESP) 2009, 2017, 2018
2   Miguel Mucio (ESP) 1924, 1925
  Victor Fontan (FRA) 1926, 1927
  Emilio Rodriguez (ESP) 1947, 1948
  Miguel Poblet (ESP) 1952, 1960
  Salvador Botella (ESP) 1953, 1959
  Marino Lejarreta (ESP) 1980, 1989
  Sean Kelly (IRL) 1984, 1986
  Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) 2010, 2014

Wins per CountryEdit

Wins Country
60   Spain
11   France
10   Italy
3   Belgium,   Colombia,   Ireland
2    Switzerland
1   Australia,   Luxembourg,   Netherlands,   Russia,   Ukraine,   United Kingdom

Most stage winsEdit

# Rider Stage wins
1   Miguel Poblet (ESP) 33
2   Mariano Cañardo (ESP) 22
3   Domingo Perurena (ESP) 14
4   Emilio Rodríguez (ESP) 12
5   Mario Cipollini (ITA) 11
6   Miguel Gual (ESP) 10
7   Alejandro Valverde (ESP) 9
8   Laurent Jalabert (FRA) 8
  Seán Kelly (IRL) 8
  Johan van der Velde (NED) 8
  Julián Berrendero (ESP) 8


The leader of the overall general classification receives a white-and-green striped jersey. There are also three other classifications. The winner of the points classification (sprints) wears a white-and-orange striped jersey, a white-and-red striped jersey for the winner of the mountain classification and the jersey of the Catalonia regional cycling team is for the best classified Catalan. There is also a team classification.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) won the 2011 edition but was later disqualified.[19]


  1. ^ Wynn, Nigel. "UCI WorldTour calendar 2016". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hood, Andrew. "Volta a Catalunya short of big climbs, but not big names". Velo News. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Axelgaard, Emil. "Volta a Catalunya stage 7 preview". Cycling Quotes. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "100 Años de Historia". (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "100 Anys d'Història". (in Catalan). Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c "Sortiu, que pasa la 'Volta'". El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Barcelona. p. 63. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "La "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya es una prueba organizada por "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya Asociación Deportiva". (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "Tour of Catalonia – Spain. June 15-22 1995". Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "70th Volta Catalunya, Cat HC Spain, June 17-24, 1999". Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  10. ^ ""Sprint" mortal de Manuel Sanroma". El País. Ediciones El País, S.L. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  11. ^ "Stage 3, Vilanova i La Geltru – Barcelone, 155.6 kms". Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "85th Volta a Catalunya – PT Spain, May 16-22, 2005". Cycling News. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  13. ^ Tan, Anthony. "Stage 7 - May 22: Pallejà-Barcelona (Sants), 113,1 km. Popo wins Catalunya, Hushovd leads home the procession". Cycling News. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  14. ^ UCI Press release: UCI Management Committee meeting - Day 1 18-june-2009
  15. ^ "Contador wins Tour of Catalunya". Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  16. ^ Macur, Juliet. "Positive Test for Contador May Cost Him Tour Title". New York Times. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  17. ^ "CAS sanctions Contador with two year ban in clenbutorol case". Cyclingnews. Future Publishing Limited. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  18. ^ a b Fotheringham, Alisdair (21 March 2015). "Preview: Contador and Froome headline at Volta a Catalunya". Cycling News. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  19. ^ Alberto Contador banned for two years after clenbuterol positive (in Catalan)

External linksEdit